pork barrel scam

3 ex-TLRC officials convicted of graft, malversation over pork barrel scam case

Rappler.com

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3 ex-TLRC officials convicted of graft, malversation  over pork barrel scam case
Former TLRC deputy director general Dennis Cunanan, supervisor Belina Concepcion, and chief accountant Marivic Jover were sentenced to six to 10 years in prison for graft, and 10 to 18 years and 9 months for malversation

MANILA, Philippines –  The Sandiganbayan First Division has convicted former Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) deputy director general Dennis Cunanan (TLRC) of graft and malversation of public funds in relation to the mishandling of P4.8 million drawn from the Priority Assistance Development Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel fund, of former Palawan congresssman Antonio Chaves Alvarez in 2007.

In the decision promulgated on October 9, the court sentenced Cunanan, supervisor Belina Concepcion, and chief accountant Marivic Jover to six to 10 years in prison for graft, and 10 to 18 years and 9 months for malversation.

They were also perpetually barred from holding public office, and were ordered pay the government P4.8 million as indemnity, subject to legal interest of 6% per year until fully paid, according to the decision penned by Associate Justice Efren de la Cruz, with concurrences from Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg and Associate Justice Arthur Malabaguio.

The court ordered the cases against former TLRC director general Antonio Ortiz and private defendant Joel Soriano archived as the two had evaded the court’s jurisdiction and were still at-large.

In its decision, the anti-graft court held that the three former TLRC officials acted with “manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence” when they disregarded rules and regulations on the Department of Budget and Management, the Commission on Audit (COA), and the Government Procurement Policy Board in relation to the disbursement of public funds.

“Such negligence was characterized by the want of even slight care, acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty to act, not inadvertently but willfully and intentionally with a conscious indifference to consequences in so far as other persons may be affected,” the court said.

According to prosecutors, the three former officials did not conduct prior accreditation verification nor a public bidding when TLRC tapped nongovernmental organization Kalinga sa Kapwa and Kalikasan Foundation Incorporate (KKKFI) as a project partner for the implementation livelihood projects funded by Alvarez’s PDAF.

“There is no showing that the KKKFI implemented the said project and until the present, the said amount has remained unliquidated,” the court said. 

The court also cited the incorporation of KKKFI less than a year before it entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the TLRC; and the foundation’s address in Pasig City when the project was in Palawan, contrary to the COA COA requirement that an NGO partner must be locally located.

The court also questioned the release of the entire P4.8 million to KKKFI. 

Under COA Circular No. 96-003 provided guidelines that it should have been done in three tranches: 15% upon signing of the MOA, 35%  at the start of the project, and the 50% balance upon completion but subject to inspection and acceptance of the government office.

In September, the Sandiganbayan Third Division found Cunanan, Concepcion, and Jover guilty of misusing nearly P10 million in pork barrel funds of the late Negros Oriental congressman Herminio Teves in 2007. – Rappler.com

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