Two ex-Cebu lawmakers ordered indicted

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Two former lawmakers from Cebu are on hot water after they were ordered charged with graft for the alleged misuse of their combined Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) amounting to P6 million in 2004.

Named respondents in a 19-page resolution signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales were former Cebu 2nd District Representative Antonio Cuenco and former 3rd District Representative Antonio Yapha Jr.

The two were ordered charged with one count each of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Also ordered charged with two counts of the same offense was former Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Unit executive director Eduardo Lecciones.

Section 3 (e) of RA 3019 prohibits a public official from giving unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to any party or causing any party, including the government, undue injury.

Based on the investigation conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman, Cuenco and Yapha endorsed to DA Regional Unit the Kasosyo Foundation, Inc. as implementor of their PDAF-funded agricultural assistance projects.

Following the release of the fund, Kasosyo supposedly purchased from a supplier 4,000 bottles of liquid fertilizers at P1,500 per bottle, for a total project cost of P6 million.

The problem is, the foundation allegedly consummated the transaction without the benefits of public bidding, the Ombudsman said.

“Despite Kasosyo’s failure to comply with the legal requirements, respondents Cuenco and Yapha unequivocally endorsed said NGO without providing any reason or justification for their choice and without first ascertaining if the latter was eligible or qualified,” the Ombudsman’s resolution read.

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