MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has charged Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas with graft, malversation, and indirect bribery for the alleged misuse of his pork barrel funds when he was congressman of the province.
The Ombudsman said in a statement on Wednesday, July 13, that Cagas has been charged with two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, two counts of malversation, and one count of direct bribery for his alleged involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
Also facing graft and malversation charges are alleged PDAF scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, who also faces two counts of corruption; Antonio Ortiz and Dennis Cunanan, formerly of the Technology Resource Center (TRC); and former budget undersecretary Mario Relampagos.
The others are Francisco Figura, Belina Concepcion, Marivic Jover, Maurine Dimaranan, Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule, Marilou Bare, Mylene Encarnacion, Evelyn De Leon, and Eulogio Rodriguez.
The Ombudsman said that based on its findings, Cagas received P16 million as part of his PDAF, which was funneled to non-governmental organizations ran by Napoles through the TRC in 2007.
The Ombudsman discovered that the NGOs Cagas chose for his projects – Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic and Development Foundation, Incorporated (CARED) and the Philippine Social Development Foundation, Incorporated (PSDFI) – did not deliver anything.
The Ombudsman also cited the testimony of the whistleblowers that Cagas allegedly received P9.3 million in kickbacks coursed through Zenaida Ducut, former Energy Regulatory Commission chief.
There were also irregularities in the selection of NGOs, the Ombudsman said, as PSDFI and CARED were not qualified to carry out the projects.
“Cagas directly chose CARED and PSDFI, which were headed or controlled by Napoles and her cohorts, to implement his projects without the benefit of public bidding, and without being authorized by an appropriation law or ordinance,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said in the consolidated resolution.
“The Ombudsman also emphasized the unusual accommodation, examination, processing and approval of the disbursement vouchers representing the payment and release of funds ‘as they were all approved in one day,'” it said in its statement.
Cagas has been in jail since he voluntarily surrendered to authorities in October 2014, after a warrant for his arrest was issued for the 2010 murder of journalist Nestor Bedolido Sr. He won a comeback bid in the Davao del Sur gubernatorial race in the May elections.
The Ombudsman had earlier ordered charges filed against Cagas’ son, Marc Douglas, for graft and malversation for the misuse of P7.5 million of his PDAF. – Rappler.com