MANILA - A former Bacolod representative is facing trial for graft and malversation at the Sandiganbayan for allegedly failing to liquidate and instead depositing into his personal account nearly half of the P50-million budget for the 2005 South East Asian (SEA) Games, the Office of the Ombudsman said Tuesday.
Former Bacolod Representative Monico Puentevella, who then headed the Bacolod South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (BASOC), allegedly failed to provide original receipts and proper liquidation documents for P21.5 million, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said in a statement.
At the time, the Department of Budget and Management had made a P50-million allocation for the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for Bacolod's hosting of the SEA Games.
"The documents for the unliquidated amount were not approved by the Commission on Audit (COA) [and the] Philippine Sports Commission since these consisted of personal vouchers of respondent Puentevella and mere photocopies of invoices or contracts," the Ombudsman said.
Its investigators "also found that the SEA Games fund was deposited to the personal account of the congressman," indicating that the former lawmaker had used the amount himself.
The COA, through letters sent from 2008 to 2009, told Puentevella to settle the P21.5 million, but the former lawmaker did not heed the agency's instructions, the Ombudsman said.
"Respondent's failure to liquidate or account for the amount of P21,565,832.50 which was under his custody and control, despite demands and the lapse of several years from the time the liquidation was due, would necessarily lead to the conclusion that he had used the funds for his personal benefit," the statement read.
Puentevella, most recently Bacolod City mayor, is facing a separate graft trial for the alleged purchase of P26-million worth of overpriced computer packages by his office during his time as lawmaker.
The case led to his suspension in September 2015, when he was mayor. He lost his reelection bid for the mayoralty in the May 2016 elections.