Ex-Cebu solon, 7 others indicted over P15M PDAF misuse

Posted at 07/08/14 5:51 PM

MANILA - The Office of the Ombudsman has filed before the Sandiganbayan malversation charges against former Cebu 4th District Representative Clavel Martinez and seven others for allegedly misusing P15 million of her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in 2002.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales affirmed the finding of probable cause against Martinez, her son former Mayor Celestino Martinez III, former Municipal Treasurer Rhett Minguez, and Municipal Accountant Cresencio Verdida, all of Bogo, Cebu; executive director Alejandrita Meca, treasurer Paz Radaza, cashier-designate Julieta Quiño, and bookkeeper Rhodariza Kilantang, all from the Girl Scouts of the Philippines.

Martinez and the others were charged with two counts of Malversation of Public Funds (Article 217, Revised Penal Code), and two counts of violations of Section 3(e) of the Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) for allegedly pocketing pork barrel funds meant for an anti-drug campaign of the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts of the Philippines - Cebu Council (BSP-CC/GSP-CC).

"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," the Ombudsman said in a statement on Tuesday.

It said only P600,000 of the P15 million went to the project while the rest went to Martinez.

The release of funds "gave Martinez unwarranted benefits, consenting and allowing her to take full control of the funds thereafter misappropriating it," the Ombudsman added.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cebu on November 19, 2001 passed a resolution calling the BSP-CC/GSP-CC to include in their programs an anti-drug campaign to be funded by the 2002 pork barrel allocation of Martinez.

Martinez was the President of the GSP-CC from 2000 to 2003.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released Martinez's P15M PDAF on May 13, 2002 under Special Release Allotment Order No. ROCS-02-01767.

The PDAF was released in two tranches of P7.5 million each upon the written request of Meca to then Mayor Martinez, son of the former Cebu representative.

This, even if there was no Memorandum of Agreement between the local government of Bogo and the GSP-CC, as shown in reports made by the GSP-CC and Commission on Audit (COA).

Upon receipt of the money, the GSP-CC immediately deposited the amount and then prepared the general voucher for the withdrawal of the same amount, payable to cash, which was received by Martinez.

Both transactions neither appeared in the Monthly Financial Report of the GSP-CC. These were also not pre-audited by the Internal Auditor.

The Allotment and Obligation Slips of Bogo were also not supported by programs of work and/or documents showing the related activities of GSP.

The Ombudsman said: "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."

"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 added.