Clarete, 31 others sued for P62.63-M PDAF scam

MANILA -- The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has filed charges before the Sandiganbayan against former Misamis Occidental (1st District) Rep. Marina Clarete and 31 others in connection with the alleged misuse of her PHP62.63-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in 2007 to 2009.

Clarete was indicted for 18 counts of graft, seven counts of malversation and 11 counts of the complex crime of malversation through falsification in connection with allocations of her PDAF.

The Ombudsman recommended no bail for the offense of malversation through falsification.

Likewise charged was former Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary and now Bohol (3rd District) Rep. Arthur Yap.

Yap was implicated in one of the seven projects and was named co-accused on two counts of graft, and one each of malversation and malversation through falsification.

The Ombudsman accused Clarete of irregularly endorsing Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation, Inc. (KKAMFI) for five projects funded by her PDAF allocations from 2007 to 2009.

The other non-government organizations (NGOs) tapped as partners for one project each were Kasangga sa Magandang Bukas Foundation, Inc. (KMBFI) and Aaron Foundation Philippines, Inc. (AFPI).

Clarete allegedly disregarded the appropriations laws and Republic Act No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act, for selecting the NGOs without public bidding.

The foundations were found to be unaccredited and unqualified to take on the projects.

The National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR), National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) and Technology Resource Center (TRC) were accused of failing to examine and verify the NGOs' credentials before releasing Clarete's PDAF proceeds for the projects.

Officials of KKAMFI, KMBFI and AFPI allegedly pocketed PHP45.59 million, PHP11.64 million and PHP5.4 million, respectively, after failing to implement the projects.

The NGOs allegedly fabricated sales invoices, delivery receipts, disbursement and liquidation reports, and lists of beneficiaries to respective implementing agencies.

Some of these documents were certified correct by Clarete herself.

Clarete's co-accused in the 14 counts of graft, nine counts of malversation through falsification and five counts of malversation included Marilou Antonio of KKAMFI and KMBFI .

Defendants from Nabcor are president Alan Javellana; vice president for administration and finance Rhodora Mendoza; human resources supervisor Encarnita-Cristina Munsod; chief accountant Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson; support services manager Romulo Relevo; general services supervisor Victor Roman Cacal ; and bookkeeper Maria Ninez GuaAizo.

Accused NLDC officials are president Gondelina Amata; accounts servicing and asset management group director Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal; director Evelyn Sucgang; asset management division chief Gregoria Buenaventura; chief budget specialist Ofelia OrdoAez; chief financial analyst Sofia Cruz; director for finance and administrative group Chita Jalandoni; and budget officer Filipina Rodriguez.

TRC officials held liable were director general Antonio Ortiz, deputy director general Dennis Cunanan, technology and livelihood information dissemination services group manager/legislative liaison officer Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, corporate support services group manager Francisco Figura, financial planning and monitoring division budget officer Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, and chief accountant Marivic Jover.

Also named co-accused were private individuals Marilou Ferrer, Allen Calma, Pio Ronquillo, Flerida Alberto, Maria Paz Vega, Rodrigo Doria, Ma. Nerizan Gador and Godofredo Roque.

Source: Philippine News Agency