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Pork barrel scam: Ex-Albay solon, 8 others charged with graft

Nov 23, 2015 @ 10:40

Former Albay 3rd District Rep. Reno Lim has been added to the long list of politikos indicted for the Janet Napoles-led pork barrel scam.

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the filing of charges against Lim for violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and four counts malversation for the alleged misuse of at least P27 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Also charged were Technology Resource Center (TRC) officials Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, Marivic Jover and Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, and Carmelita Barredo of C.C. Barredo Publishing House.

Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. (KMFI) representatives Carlos Soriano and France Mercado were also included in the charge sheet, according to an Ombudsman statement.

According to the Ombudsman, Lim authorized the release of his PDAF amounting to P30 million for the procurement of 8,000 sets of livelihood instructional materials and technology kits in August and November 2007.

Lim was representative of the 3rd District from 2007 to 2010. He ran for re-election in 2010 but lost.

Lim identified TRC as the implementing agency with KMFI as NGO-partner. They signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in 2008.

The Ombudsman faulted the former lawmaker for handpicking KMFI as the project implementor without undergoing public bidding.

In the transaction, the Commission on Audit (COA) also cited the lack of track record of KMFI, which was only registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2006.

The supposed NGO also did not have a legitimate business address. Worse, it received the P27 million payment even before the signing of the MOA.

The project later turned out to be a “ghost” since no deliveries of livelihood kits was made.

“Lim had treated the same [fund] as it were his own funds, dictating how it should be utilized and released.  He not only determined the project, the implementing agency and the NGO, but also determined how much of his PDAF should go to the projects,” the Ombudsman said.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales pointed out that the respondents’ “combined acts indubitably point to a concerted action to divert public funds drawn from Lim’s PDAF.”

“The nefarious scheme basically involved projects supposed to be funded by said PDAF, which projects turned out to be fictitious or inexistent,” she added.

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