Former Caloocan Rep Baby Asistio indicted over P8M PDAF scam

Lian Buan
Former Caloocan Rep Baby Asistio indicted over P8M PDAF scam
Also indicted is former Social Welfare secretary Esperanza Cabral for facilitating the anomalous transaction

MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales indicted former Caloocan 2nd District Representative Luis “Baby” Asistio for 4 counts of graft and 2 counts of malversation thru falsification of documents over the misuse of P8 million worth of his pork barrel linked to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

“The misappropriation of the PDAF allotted to Asistio was coursed through a scheme he conceived involving various projects and forms of assistance in his district supposed to have funded by his PDAF, which projects turned out to be non-existent or ghost,” Morales said through a statement released on Tuesday, September 26.

From 2006 to 2007, while Asistio was Caloocan 2nd District Congressman, P15 million worth of his PDAF was coursed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as implementing agency.

Of this P15 million, P8 million went to the Kalookan Assistance Council, Inc (KACI) for social services projects; it was supposed to be earmarked for the purchase of various medical supplies and soldering parts, meals, chemicals for fumigation, diesel, baby oil, alcohol bottles, tarpaulins, t-shirts and kit bags. 

Morales said the scheme was conceived by Asistio because KACI was found to have direct links to him. 

“KACI’s incorporators and officers are the congressman’s former political coordinators, volunteers and supporters and that its office was located on the same property as Asistio’s office,” the Ombudsman said in its statement.

Ghost projects

KACI was also not compliant with procurement rules according to the Commission on Audit (COA). The projects were found to be fictitious because neither the supplier nor the beneficiaries could be traced to their addresses.

“The Ombudsman also discovered that the alleged supplier, Silver A Enterprises, is a bogus entity with no records from the local government, Department of Trade and Industry, or with the Bureau of Internal Revenue,” the statement said.

KACI also submitted questionable documents and failed to liquidate the funds.

Asistio did not file a counter-affidavit during the preliminary investigation.

Also indicted were DSWD officials who had a hand in the transaction, Esperanza Cabral, Mateo Montaño, Leonila Hayahay and Cenon Mayor of KACI.

Cabral, who was DSWD secretary at the time, and her staff are implicated for their participation in the transaction.

“Worth noting is the unusual accommodation in the examination, processing and approval by the concerned DSWD officers of the PDAF releases to KACI.  The DSWD officers did not even bother to conduct a due diligence audit on KACI and its suppliers,” the Ombudsman said.

Montaño has been found guilty of  Grave Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and was ordered dismissed from the service. – Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.