MANILA, Philippines – Former Ilocos Sur 1st District Representative Salacnib Baterina is the latest ex-public official to be charged in court in connection with the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
Baterina and former officials of the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) and the budget department were charged before the Sandiganbayan for 3 counts of graft and 3 counts of malversation for P33.9 million worth of missued pork barrel in 2007.
Baterina also faces one count of direct bribery with former Energy Regulatory Commission chief Zenaida Ducut for allegedly receiving P3 million in kickbacks from detained pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
According to the charge sheets filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, Baterina allocated his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) on three separate occasions in 2007 to Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc (KMFI) and Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc (PSDFI). (READ: Almost half of PDAF goes to favored NGOs)
KMFI was controlled by Napoles, as well as Carlos Soriano, France Mercado and Godofredo Roque, who were all similarly charged.
PSDFI, on the other hand, was controlled by Napoles and Evelyn De Leon, also charged for the same offenses.
Roque was earlier described as another Napoles in the widespread scam. In an investigative report by Rappler, Roque was shown to own the network of non-governmental organizations led by Kabuhayan at Kalusugan Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc (KKAMFI) who beat Napoles to the PDAF of members of the House of Representatives.
In Baterina’s case, however, the two seem to have worked together.
In one of the allocations, Baterina gave Napoles and Roque’s KMFI without public bidding and despite the NGO being unqualified to undertake projects.
The same goes for another P9.6M allocation to Napoles and De Leon’s PSDFI. It was in this allocation that Napoles allegedly gave P3 million to Ducut.
The Ombudsman cleared former budget secretary and now Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., who was previously indicted with Baterina.
Andaya was indicted because he issued budget release orders even in the absence of project profiles and endorsements from implementing agencies.
In granting his motion for reconsideration, the Ombudsman gave merit to Andaya’s argument that the profiles and endorsements were no longer necessary because similar details were already provided for in the PDAF menu in the General Appropriations Act of 2005.
Also charged with 3 counts each of graft and 3 counts each of malversation were the following TLRC officials:
1. Antonio Ortiz (former director-general)
2. Dennis Cunanan (former deputy director-general)
3. Francisco Figura (group manager, Corporate Service Group)
4. Belina Concepcion (sales and promotion supervisor IV)
5. Marvin Jover (chief accountant)
6. Maurine Dimaranan (internal auditor)
The following officials from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) were charged with one count each of graft and one count each of malversation for the P9.6 million allocation to PSDFI.
1. Mario Relampagos (former undersecretary for operations)
2. Rosario Nunez (budget and management specialist chief)
3. Laline Paule (administrative assistant)
4. Marilou Bare (administrative assistant)
According to the Ombudsman, these DBM officials “accommodated Napoles and her cohorts, facilitated the processing of the aforementioned SARO and the corresponding notice of cash allocation resulting in the release of the subject PDAF to TLRC.” – Rappler.com