Arroyo admin execs charged over Malampaya scam

By Elizabeth Marcelo

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Among the Arroyo administration officials the ombudsman charged were former budget secretary and incumbent Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. and former agrarian reform secretary and incumbent Masiu, Lanao del Sur Mayor Nasser Pangandaman Jr. with 97 counts each of graft and another 97 counts each of the complex crime of malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents. In 2009, then President Gloria Arroyo signed Executive Order 848 allocating P900 million of government income from the Malampaya natural gas project for farm victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng which hit the country late that year. It was later found out through a Senate investigation that the funds did not reach its intended beneficiaries but was instead allocated to bogus non-government organizations. File  
MANILA, Philippines — Two former Cabinet secretaries and five other former officials during the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo were charged with 194 criminal cases by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the P900-million Malampaya fund scam.
 
In separate case information sheets totaling 1,164 pages, the ombudsman charged former budget secretary and incumbent Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. and former agrarian reform secretary and incumbent Masiu, Lanao del Sur Mayor Nasser Pangandaman Jr. with 97 counts each of graft and another 97 counts each of the complex crime of malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents.
 
Also charged with the same counts of the offenses were former Department of Budget and Management Undersecretary Mario Relampagos as well as former officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform namely Undersecretary Narciso Nieto, Director Teresita Panlilio, chief accountant Angelita Cacananta and chief administrative officer Ronald Venancio.
 
Businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam was also named as respondents in all the 194 cases, as well as her children Jo Christine Napoles, James Christopher Napoles, brothers Reynald Lim and Ronald Francisco Lim, nephew Ronald John Lim and her driver and bodyguard John Raymund De Asis.
 
READ: Napoles to seek bail following Jinggoy's move
 
Also named as respondents in all the cases were pork barrel scam whistleblower Ruby Tuason and 10 other private individuals including former Candaba Mayor Rene Maglanque, Evelyn De Leon, Eulogio Rodriguez, Simplicio Gumafelix, Rodrigo Galay, Alejandro Garro, Paquito Dinso Jr., Gerald Apuang, Napoleon Sibayan and Winnie Villanueva.
 
The cases were filed by the ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan on December 1, but copies of the charge sheets were only made available to the media Thursday.
 
In 2009, then President Arroyo signed Executive Order 848 allocating P900 million of government income from the Malampaya natural gas project for farm victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng which hit the country late that year.
 
It was later found out through a Senate investigation that the funds did not reach its intended beneficiaries but was instead allocated to bogus non-government organizations.
 
It was in December 2016 when the ombudsman ordered the filing of criminal charges against former officials of Arroyo in connection with the Malampaya scam.
 
The ombudsman, in its ruling, however, cleared Arroyo and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita of any liability in the alleged fund misuse even if the two were included in the original complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation.
 
READ: Arroyo cleared in Malampaya mess; Napoles, 24 others face raps
 
The ombudsman said the signing of the EO was done in “good faith” and in accordance with Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 910.
 
Aside from graft and malversation, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, in the December 2016 resolution, also ordered the filing of plunder case against Andaya, Pangandaman and the other former officials and private individuals.
 
The ombudsman's Public Information and Media Relations Bureau, however, clarified that a resolution dated Sept. 5, 2017 was approved by Morales partially granting the respondent's motion for reconsideration and dropped its earlier finding of probable cause to file the plunder charges.
 
In a statement, Andaya who also serves as House deputy speaker, said he is confident that he would be vindicated from all the allegation.
 
“I welcome the filing of the case, confident that at the end, when my side will be fully heard and the evidence I submit will be appreciated, truth will prevail and I shall be acquitted of the charges against me,” Andaya said.
 
“I have full faith in our justice system even as I wish that the case will proceed in a fair and fast manner. Let me note that the charges have been degraded from plunder to malversation, which means that the original indictment actively sought has been debunked,” he added.
 
Based on the filed case information sheets Andaya, Relampagos, Pangandaman and the other DAR officials conspired with Napoles in allocating the P900-million funds to 12 bogus non-government organizations, for supposed livelihood projects which turned out to be “ghosts” or were never implemented.
 
The ombudsman's said the Napoles family forged the request letters of mayors of 97 towns and cities in Luzon to be the beneficiaries of the supposed livelihood projects.
 
Pangandaman allegedly directed Nieto to request the DBM to release the P900 million discretionary fund supposedly "without any clear basis."
 
The ombudsman said Andaya approved the release of the requested fund by signing a special allotment release order an notice of cash allocation despite the absence of clear basis and supporting documents.
 
The other former DAR officials, meanwhile, were faulted for supposedly processing the payments to the fake mayor-beneficiaries despite the "attendant glaring irregularities" in the submitted supporting documents for the transactions.
 
The following were the Napoles-linked NGOs where the P900-million Malampaya funds were supposedly diverted:
  • Abundant Harvest for People’s Foundation, Inc. (AHPFI), P75 million;
  • Bukirin Tanglaw Foundation, Inc. (BTFI), P75 million;
  • Dalangpan Sang Amon Utod Kag Kasimanwa Foundation, Inc. (DSAUKKFI), P75 million;
  • Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. (GAMF), P77.5 million;
  • Gintong Pangkabuhayan Foundation, Inc. (GPFI), P82.5 million;
  • Kaupdan Para Sa Mangunguma Foundation, Inc. (KMFI), P75 million;
  • Karangayan Para sa Magbubukid Foundation, Inc. (KPMFI), P82.5 million;
  • Kasaganahan Para sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. (KPSMFI), P75 million;
  • Micro Agri Business Citizens Initiative Foundation, Inc. (MABCF), P55 million;
  • Masaganang Buhay Foundation, Inc. (MBFI), P75 million;
  • Saganang Buhay sa Atin Foundation, Inc. (SBAFI), P80 million, and;
  • Tanglaw Para sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. (TPSMFI), P72.5 million
The ombudsman recommended to the Sandiganbayan to set the bail bond for graft at P30,000 for each count and P200,000 for each count of malversation through falsification or a total of P22.31 million for each of the accused.

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