MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman 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 benefited from the transaction or that he was grossly negligent.”
According to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-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.”
She added “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.”-Harold V. Pontongan/Newsline.ph