Visayan Forum: P97M USAID money properly accounted

By Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 28 2012 07:48 PM | Updated as of Sep 29 2012 03:48 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The chairman of the Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc. has denied reports that their members and employees are bolting the organization because of the falsification and fraud charges that the non-government organization (NGO) is facing.

According to the chairman, Joaquin Garaygay, their staff remains intact except for two newly-hired employees who resigned after being traumatized by the raid conducted by authorities.

"’Yung iba nasa amin pa" he said.

Garaygay also clarified that the grants received by Visayan Forum from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) did not amount to P300 million, but only P97 million, and all receipts are well accounted for.

Garaygay said they even returned unused funds of P1.4 million to USAID.

"P97 million only from 2005 to 2011, and we all have proper receipts for that,” he said.

The court proceeding on the fraud case against the NGO was reset to a later date by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Evelyn Corpus-Cabochan of Branch 98.

Cabochan noted that the court cannot proceed with the case until the Office of the Solicitor General has issued a certification to the legal department of the National Bureau of Investigation to proceed with the same.

The Visayan Forum, an NGO which advocates anti-trafficking, was alleged to have falsified receipts issued to their donor USAID.

Atty. Lawrence Arroyo, counsel for the Visayan Forum, was supposed to file a motion to quash on Friday, asking the court to recall the search warrant order by the court.

Judge Cabochan ordered the continuation on Monday the inventory of evidence seized.