3 former TLRC officials convicted in P9.6 million PDAF scam cases

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2023 01:36 PM

MANILA — The Sandiganbayan has found 3 former officials of the defunct Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) guilty of misusing P9.6 million for ghost livelihood projects in 2007 in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

In a decision of the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division promulgated on September 15, former TLRC executives Belina Concepcion, Dennis Cunanan, and Marivic Jover were sentenced to 6 to 10 years of imprisonment for graft and 12 to 18 years for malversation of public funds.

The projects were funded by the PDAF of the late Negros Oriental 3rd District representative Herminio Teves, who was exonerated due to his death. The Supreme Court in 2013 declared the PDAF unconstitutional. 

Teves' former chief of staff Hiram Diday Pulido and Molugan Foundation Inc. (MFI) representative Samuel Bombeo were also convicted of graft and malversation.

"Considering that there is no proof as to the whereabouts of the funds and nothing happened to the project, this meant that the amount was not actually used for its intended purposes and that the accused misappropriated or consented, or, through abandonment or negligence, permitted Bombeo to take the public funds," the court said. 

Associate Justice Ronald Moreno penned the decision, with the concurrence of Presiding Justice and Division Chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez.

The court noted that MFI did not possess the required qualification and accreditation to undertake the livelihood programs through the allocation of farm implements and livelihood materials for residents of depressed barangays.

During the trial, Pulido said she had no knowledge of the dealings of her office with MFI.

Cunanan argued that he practiced due diligence in signing PDAF-related documents and that he made rectifications as to the implementation of PDAF projects which were already under scrutiny in 2010. 

Meanwhile, Jover said she had no choice but to affix her signature on transactions supported by documents.

"Accused public officers Concepcion, Cunanan, Jover and Pulido consented or permitted Bombeo, through MFI, to take the PDAF-drawn public funds," the court said.

Aside from imprisonment, Concepcion, Cunanan, Jover, Pulido and Bombeo were ordered to pay the government a P9.6 million fine which is equal to the amount malversed, as well as an indemnification fee of P9.6 million with 6 percent interest.

The court acquitted former TLRC department manager Francisco Figura and ordered the archiving of the cases against director general Antonio Ortiz who remained at large.

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