QC congressman to be tried for P8M PDAF scam
05 October 2017
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has found probable cause to file graft and Malversation charges against Representative Vincent Crisologo of the 1st district of Quezon City for his involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam. Crisologo is set to be tried for two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019), two counts of Malversation and two counts of Malversation thru Falsification of Public Documents.
The Ombudsman also ordered the filing of charges against the lawmaker’s co-conspirators from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), namely: former Secretary Esperanza Cabral, Undersecretary Mateo Montaño, Lualhati Pablo, Leonila Hayahay, Vilma Cabrera, Pacita Sarino; and Cenon Mayor, President of Kaloocan Assistance Council, Inc. (KACI).
Investigation conducted by Task Force PDAF found that in 2009, Crisologo requested the Department of Budget and Management for the release of
P8million for the implementation of his PDAF-funded Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services (CIDSS) program to be coursed through the DSWD as implementing agency. Congressman Crisologo specifically requested KACI as NGO-partner for the CIDSS project consisting of medical/hospitalization assistance, transportation, calamity, death, burial, educational expenses, small-scale livelihood, socio-cultural expenses, small-scale infrastructure assistance and values training.
Upon checking the documents of the project, investigators found that KACI submitted falsified receipts and that the beneficiaries of the financial assistance included coordinators and political supporters of Crisologo. Also, the Ombudsman obtained affidavits of alleged beneficiaries who denied receiving any burial or financial assistance and denied that the signatures appearing on the vouchers were theirs. Representatives from the National Children’s Hospital also attested that no free medical or dental mission was conducted in October 2009, contrary to claims of the respondents. KACI’s main supplier, Silver A Enterprises is not a registered business entity as validated from the Department of Trade and Industry and the Quezon City Business Permit and Licensing Office.
In its Resolution, the Ombudsman stated that Crisologo failed to show that he exerted earnest efforts to ensure that KACI liquidated the tranches of the funds which “could only mean that he benefitted from the transaction or that he was grossly negligent.”
According to Ombudsman Morales, “[Crisologo] is after all, accountable for the funds because he has control, if not actual custody of the funds, as these funds cannot be released without his consent and directives.”
Expounding on this point, the Resolution stated that “Crisologo treated his PDAF as if it were his own funds, dictating how it should be utilized and released. He not only identified the project, implementing agency and NGO, but also determined how much of his PDAF should go to the projects, or in this case, KACI.”
The anti-graft agency added that “the concerned DSWD officers did not even bother to conduct a due diligence audit on KACI and its suppliers. Instead, they accepted the sole representation of Congressman Crisologo and KACI to undertake the projects in contravention of existing procurement laws and regulations. Further, they processed the release of the PDAF to KACI on the sole basis of the indorsement letter and project design.
In the parallel administrative adjudication proceedings, the Ombudsman found Montaño, Cabrera and Sarino guilty of Grave Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service. They were ordered dismissed from the service with the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and bar from taking civil service examinations. ###