Ex-lawmaker fined P17k for P4.3 million PDAF misuse

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 05 2019 01:04 PM

MANILA - Former Iloilo 2nd District Rep. Augusto Syjuco, Jr. and Department of Agriculture regional director Eduardo Lecciones, Jr. were fined P17,000 each over the alleged irregular use of P4.3 million Priority Development Assistance Funds in 2000.

The plea bargain agreement between the accused individuals and the prosecution was approved, according to the decision of the Sandiganbayan 1st Division ordered on July 23, 2019.

Syjuco and Lecciones had pleaded guilty to the lesser offenses of violation of Article 213 or Frauds Against Public Treasury and Article 218 or Failure of an Accountable Officer to Render Account of the Revised Penal Code as well as violation of Presidential Decree 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines.

They were imposed a P10,000 fine for violation of Article 213, P6,000 for Article 218 and P1,000 for PD 1445.

The court noted that the Commission on Audit has already given a certification that the government funds were fully accounted for.

“In view of the full liquidation of the amounts involved in these case, there is no basis for the court to find civil liability against both accused” the court said.

The cases, initially handled by the 5th Division, stemmed from the use of PDAF funneled by Taguipuson Foundation to Ilonggo Chickboy which is allegedly owned or controlled by Syjuco.

The decision to order Syjuco and Lecciones to pay penalties was signed by Division Chairperson Efren de la Cruz and Associate Justices Geraldine Faith Econg and Edgardo Caldona.

The court also ordered the lifting of the hold departure orders of against the accused in connection with the cases, as well as the release of their bonds.