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Ex-Cebu solon slapped with criminal case over 'pork' misuse.

Byline: Tetch Torres-Tupas

MANILA -- The Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday filed a criminal case before the Sandiganbayan against former Cebu 4th District Representative Clavel Martinez and seven others for allegedly misappropriating P15-million worth of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel.

Aside from Martinez, also facing two counts of Malversation of Public Funds and two counts of violation of the anti-graft law are former Mayor Celestino Martinez III, former Municipal Treasurer Rhett Minguez, Municipal Accountant Cresencio Verdida, all of Bogo, Cebu, along with executive director Alejandrita Meca, treasurer Paz Radaza, cashier-designate Julieta Quino and bookeeper Rhodariza Kilantang, all from the Girl Scouts of the Philippines.

The case stemmed after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cebu on Nov. 19, 2001 passed a resolution calling the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts of the Philippines-Cebu Council (GSP-CC) to include in their programs the enforcement of anti-drug campaign to be funded by the 2002 PDAF allocation of Martinez who was also the President of the GSP-CC from 2000 to 2003.

After six months or on May 13, 2002, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released the P15 million under Special Release Allotment Order No. ROCS-02-01767.

Investigation showed that the release of the funds did not follow the requirements under the law.

The Office also found that "all the elements required in both charges are present and there is no denying that respondents conspired with each other through evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence to defraud public funds."

It added that "Mayor Martinez III, Minguez and Verdida had utterly disregarded the proper procedure in disbursing the PDAF. It cannot be overlooked that by reason of their office and duties, they have control over and are accountable for the funds" and that "they should have demanded for the program of works and/or memorandum of agreement (MOA) showing the activities by the GSP for its anti-drug campaign program, to ensure the legitimacy of all the disbursements."

It found that only P600,000.00 of the P15 million was given to GSP-CC while the rest went to Martinez.

It added that the "release of funds to GSP-CC gave respondent Martinez unwarranted benefits, consenting and allowing her to take full control of the funds thereafter misappropriating it.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jul 8, 2014
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