MANILA - The Office of the Ombudsman has filed 11 counts of graft against dismissed Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo over the alleged anomalous use of P143.268-million in calamity funds for 11 infrastructure projects.
The charges stemmed from the financial assistance Degamo requested for the rehabilitation of structures damaged by Typhoon Sendong in December 2011 and the 6.9-magnitude earthquake that struck in February 2012.
He is already facing 11 malversation cases at the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division over the alleged 2012 calamity fund anomaly.
Based on the Ombudsman's investigation, the Department of Budget and Management issued in June 2012 a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) amounting to P961.5 million, of which P480.7 million went to the Negros Oriental provincial government.
After two weeks, the DBM withdrew the SARO over the provincial government's failure to comply with guidelines for infrastructure projects. Still, Degamo proceeded with the award of a 15-percent advance payment to contractors worth P143 million.
Also charged with 11 counts of graft are provincial treasurer Danilo Mendez, provincial accountant Teodorico Reyes and provincial engineer Franco Alpuerto.
Mendez and Reyes were also charged with an additional 11 counts of falsification of public documents for certifying that the funds were still available.
The Ombudsman also included private contractors in the charges: Alejandro Lim Jr. of Lim General Contractor Corporation, Mark Anthony Clemente of CTC Builders and Supplies Inc, Danny Chan of AJAN Jeada Inc, Wilfredo Chu of Bigfoot Construction and Supply, Farouk Macarambon of Fiat Construction Services, Maribel Ranola of Legazpi Premium Development Corporation, and Ricardo Abriol Santos of Richmark Construction and Supply.
Earlier this month, Degamo was ordered dismissed by the Ombudsman over a cash advance worth P10 million without the approval of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
He was also earlier dismissed by the Ombudsman for the calamity fund cases but was able to secure a temporary restraining order from the Court of Appeals.