Ombudsman orders filing of charges vs DavSur Rep. Cagas for misuse of PDAF

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 Sep) – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the filing of charges against former Davao del Sur Representative Marc Douglas Cagas IV and nine others for the alleged misuse of P6 million worth of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bankroll ghost projects in 2008.

In her resolution, Morales said she has ordered for the filing of two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019), one count of malversation and another count for malversation through falsification of public documents.

Cagas, who was member of House of Representatives from 2007 until 2008, said his P6-million PDAF was allocated for the “business clinics, market development and technology transfer through livelihood trainings and seminars, coursed through Farmerbusiness Development Corporation (FDC) as NGO-partner and the Technology Resource Center as implementing agency.”

Morales said that on-site verification of the Office of the Ombudsman showed that there was no project implemented and the supposed program beneficiaries did not receive training kits.

“The documents submitted by FDC such as project final report, certificates of service rendered, delivery receipts and acknowledgement receipts were all fabricated. It was also uncovered that the signatures appearing on the livelihood training program registration form were forged, with the alleged beneficiaries denying having received any training,” the Ombudsman added.

The Ombudsman maintained that it is the legislator who exercises actual control and custody of the PDAF.

The nine others named by the Ombudsman are project consultant Vanie Semillano, Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, Marivic Jover, Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, Johanne Edward Labay, Arnolfo Reyes and Aileen Carrasco.

Earlier, Morales ordered for Cagas’ indictment for two counts of malversation and two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 for the anomalous utilization of his “P11-million PDAF for the implementation of projects such as the distribution of agricultural production and livelihood packages in the form of fertilizers, seeds and sprayers.”

Cagas was previously dragged into the controversial PDAF scam when whistleblower Benhur Luy revealed that the congressman received at least P5.5 million in commissions, rebates, or kickbacks from his PDAF-funded projects from 2007 to 2008. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)