The Ombudsman orders the filing of graft charges against two ex-governors of Ilocos Sur for alleged misuse of more than P26 million of the province’s share in the tobacco excise tax 12 years ago. The Ombudsman says Chavit Singson and Deogracias Victor Savellano violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The chair of the Save Ilocos Sur Alliance Foundation, who filed the complaint with the Ombudsman, alleges a total of P26,060,500 was released as financial assistance to Multi-Line Food Processing International Inc (MFPII) during the terms of the two governors. This was taken from the province’s share in the proceeds from the national government’s tobacco excise tax collection. MFPII, a private entity, was not qualified to receive assistance from the tobacco fund. But the Ombudsman says Singson and Savellano entered into several memoranda of agreement with the company and released funds without inspecting the projects. A Newsbreak special report shows the provincial government under the two ex-governors either misused, misappropriated, or failed to account for at least P1.3 billion of its tobacco fund from 1999 to 2005.
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