MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the indictment of Quezon City First District Rep. Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo for graft over the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) amounting to P8 million in 2009.
Crisologo was ordered charged by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales before the Sandiganbayan with two counts of violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, two counts of malversation of public funds and another two counts of falsification of public documents under the Revised Penal Code.
The other respondents are former Department of Social Welfare and Development secretary Esperanza Cabral; DSWD undersecretaries Mateo Montaño and Lualhati Pablo; assistant secretary Vilma Cabrera; chief accountant Leonila Hayahay, and assistant director Pacita Sarino.
Private individual Cenon Mayor of Kaloocan Assistance Council Inc. (KACI) was also ordered charged.
The ombudsman said Task Force PDAF’s probe showed that Crisologo endorsed KACI to implement his PDAF-funded social services project for his constituents, which included medical and hospitalization expenses, transportation, calamity, death, burial and educational expenses, small-scale livelihood training, socio-cultural expenses, small-scale infrastructure assistance and values training.
Crisologo’s pork barrel fund worth P8 million was released by the Department of Budget and Management to DSWD in 2009.
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However, the ombudsman found that none of the supposed social services reached the intended beneficiaries.
Ombudsman probers said KACI submitted falsified receipts and other supporting documents for the bogus project.
The ombudsman added that most of the listed beneficiaries were “coordinators and political supporters of Crisologo.”
The listed beneficiaries of the death and burial assistance denied receiving cash from Crisologo’s office and that the signatures on the vouchers were forged, the ombudsman said.
Representatives from the National Children’s Hospital also attested that no free medical or dental mission was conducted in October 2009, contrary to the claim of the respondents.
The ombudsman said KACI’s main supplier for the project, Silver A Enterprises, is not a registered business entity.
Morales said Crisologo’s failure to ensure that his PDAF allocation was properly liquidated “could only mean that he benefitted from the transaction or that he was grossly negligent.”
According to the ombudsman, the former DSWD officials must be held accountable as they “did not even bother to conduct an audit on KACI and its suppliers” before releasing the payment.
Crisologosaid he could not be charged with graft as he did not get hold of the questioned funds, GMA News reported.
“We did not hold any money, we did not implement any project, we just pinpointed it and there was an implementing agency,” he said.
“The reason why there is an implementing agency is because we as congressmen do not have the facilities to implement. We did not hold any money so where’s graft and corruption there?” he added.