Ex-Iloilo lawmaker indicted over P14.7-M pork scam
MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has indicted former Iloilo 5th District representative Rolex Suplico over an anomalous P14.7-million pork barrel release in 2007, her office said on Friday, January 26.
Morales approved the resolution on January 8, ordering the filing of one count of graft against Suplico and former officials of the now abolished government agency Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) and the non-governmental organization (NGO) used as project implementor.
Before the 2007 elections, Suplico released P14.7 million worth of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to TLRC as implementing agency, and funnelled through AARON Foundation Philippines Incorporated (AARON) for livelihood projects for the 5th District of Iloilo.
“Based on an audit conducted by the Special Audit Office of the Commission on Audit (COA), the PDAF remains unliquidated,” the Office of the Ombudsman said.
The Ombudsman also found that the selection of the NGO did not follow procurement rules.
“No business permit had been issued to AARON since 2004 and that its business address is located in a vacant lot, thus, casting doubt as to its existence and legitimacy,” the Ombudsman said.
Morales’ resolution accused Suplico of negligence or deliberate failure to liquidate “which could only mean that he benefitted from the transaction or that he was grossly negligent.”
“It is emphasized that respondent Suplico is accountable for the funds because he has control and actual custody of the funds as these funds cannot be released without his consent and directives. Such failure/refusal to liquidate the P14,700,000.00 clearly casts doubt as to the validity, propriety, and legality of the transaction between respondents, causing undue injury to the government and giving unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to AARON,” Morales said.
Also indicted were former TLRC director general Antonio Ortiz and AARON president Alfredo Ronquillo.
Suplico is the latest politician to be indicted in the pork barrel scam, as Morales reaches the last stretch of her "penultimate race" to hold those involved in the scam accountable. She retires in July. – Rappler.com
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