Sandigan affirms ‘pork’ raps vs Syjuco Featured

Sandigan affirms ‘pork’ raps vs Syjuco

The Sandiganbayan will proceed with the trial of former Iloilo congressman Augusto Syjuco Jr. for the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel. File

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan will proceed with the trial of former Iloilo congressman Augusto Syjuco Jr. for the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

In a resolution released on Wednesday, the fifth division of the anti-graft court denied Syjuco’s motion to dismiss the two counts of graft and malversation of public funds filed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman for lack of merit.

The Sandiganbayan dismissed Syjuco’s claim that his constitutional right to speedy trial was violated when it took the ombudsman more than 11 years to finish its investigation.

“The delay should be considered reasonable as it was brought about by the need for a thorough investigation and review of documents,” the ruling penned by Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega read.

The cases stemmed from the alleged release of P4.3 million from Syjuco’s PDAF to non-government organization (NGO) Tagipusuon Foundation Inc. in March 2000 to implement a poultry breeding and production project in his district.

The ombudsman said the money was released to Tagipusuon without public bidding and despite the NGO’s lack of qualifications and track record.

Investigation also showed that Tagipusuon entered into an agreement with Ilonggo Chickboy Corp. to supply the chicks for the project.

Graft probers said Syjuco owned both Tagipusuon and Chickboy.

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