Ex-Isabela congressman Miranda charged over PDAF scam

MANILA, Philippines – Former Isabela 4th District representative Anthony Miranda was charged before the Sandiganbayan for 4 counts of graft and 2 counts of malversation for the misuse of P20 million worth of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

Miranda as well as 5 former officials of the now-abolished implementing agency Technology Resource Center (TRC) and two private individuals connected to a questionable non-governmental organization (NGO) were charged on Monday, April 3.

The questionable NGO is said to be owned by Miranda himself, so he allegedly got a bigger cut compared to transactions which involved NGOs owned by alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.

The charges involve two separate PDAF allocations in January 2007 and February 2007. Miranda funneled his pork barrel into Aksyon Makamasa Foundation Incorporated (AMFI), an NGO he owned and controlled according to the Ombudsman.

The congressman then entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with TRC, which then released the disbursement voucher and a Land Bank of the Philippines check to AMFI.

In both transactions, AMFI was represented by Domingo Mamauag and Edison Sabio. According to the charge sheet, Mamauag received the check from TRC and "helped remit the proceeds thereof to Miranda."

"The above said accused TRC officials thus allowed AMFI to divert said PDAF-drawn public funds to Miranda's control and benefit instead of implementing the PDAF-funded projects which turned out to be non-existent," the charge sheet said.

Miranda and former TRC officials Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Marivic Jover, Belina Concepcion, and Francisco Figura, as well as AMFI's Mamauag and Sabio, were charged with 2 counts of graft and 2 counts of malversation.

The graft charge is for the violation of bidding rules while the malversation charges are for the falsified reports and documents that made it appear there were actually PDAF-funded projects.

Miranda was charged with two separate counts of graft for violation of Section 3(h) of the anti-graft law, which prohibits public officials from having direct or indirect "pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having any interest." – Rappler.com

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.