MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales created on Tuesday, July 16, a panel to look into the alleged “ghost projects” reportedly funded by the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of certain lawmakers.
The 6-person special team of investigators will be doing its work parallel to the investigation being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Ombudsman Morales initiated the fact-finding investigation in response to news reports on the exposé of Benhur Luy of a “pork barrel scam” supposedly hatched by Janet Lim Napoles. It involves the use of huge amounts of PDAF in “ghost projects” by alleged “dummy” non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Under Republic Act No. 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989), the Ombudsman may, on its own or even without a lodged complaint, initiate an investigation into “any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient.”
Ombudsman records disclose that Napoles, Luy, and several NGO officers have been facing complaints in the “fertilizer fund scam” cases pending in this office.
Records also reveal that the office has been conducting field investigation into apparent anomalies and irregularities in the implementation of livelihood programs/projects funded by the PDAF of 3 senators and one representative.
Under Section 15 of its charter, the Office of the Ombudsman has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, and has the authority to file corruption-related criminal charges, if warranted upon a finding of probable cause, against high-ranking officers. – Rappler.com