MANILA- The Office of the Ombudsman has indicted former Northern Samar Rep. Emil Ong and former Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral for the alleged misuse of the former's Priority Development Assistance Fund from 2007 to 2009.
In a resolution, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the filing of 19 counts of violations of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, 12 counts of malversation thru falsification of public documents, and seven counts of malversation against Ong.
Charged with him were Cabral and other Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) officials and staff members, namely Undersecretary Luwalhati Pablo, Mateo Montaño, Deseree Fajardo, Joselita Enciso and Leonila Hayahay.
Also included in the charge sheet were the following officials:
[BOLD] National Livelihood Development Corporation
Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal
National Agri-Business Corporation
Victor Roman Cacal
Maria Ninez Guañizo
Non-government organization representatives were also among those indicted, namely:
Economic and Social Cooperation for Local Development Foundation, Inc. (ECOSOC)- Roberto Solon
Gabaymasa Development Foundation, Inc. (GDFI)- Margie Luz and Ma. Cristina Vizcarra
Interactive Training Opportunity Needs Alleviation Movement, Inc. (ITONAMI)- Rowena Adriano and Nestor Serdeña
Also included as co-accused was Ong's representative Jesus Acebuche.
The Ombudsman's investigation had revealed that from 2007 to 2009, Ong received a total of P62 million as part of his PDAF, which were supposed to benefit his constituents in the second district of Northern Samar.
Like other cases that stemmed from the P10-billion PDAF scam, the Ombudsman found that the supposed agricultural packages turned out to be ghost projects of bogus NGOs endorsed by Ong.
"...[T]o be able to repeatedly divert substantial funds from the PDAF, access thereto must be made available, and this was made possible by Ong who endorsed ECOSOC, GDFI and ITONAMI to implement his PDAF-related undertakings," the Ombudsman resolution read.
The Ombudsman added that "DSWD officers and employees released the funds to the NGOs with unusual accommodation, as it did not conduct any verification of the implementation of the projects."