SC allows US travel of ex-TLRC exec in PDAF scam

SC allows US travel of ex-TLRC exec in PDAF scam

MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) has granted a plea filed by former Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) deputy director general Dennis Cunanan to be allowed to travel to the United States while his appeal on the graft case against him remains pending.

In a resolution dated Sept. 29 uploaded on the SC website on Tuesday the SC’s First Division allowed Cunanan to travel to the US from October 7 to November 5.

Last July 14, the SC already granted Cunanan’s motion to travel from June 29 to July 20 but required him to submit anew his detailed flight and travel itinerary, considering that the original date of departure had already lapsed.

Last July 28, Cunanan filed a manifestation of compliance proposing a revised travel itinerary to the US departing on October 7 and returning on November 5.

In addition, he deposited a PHP300,000 travel bond with the SC.

Cunanan, the court said, asserted his willingness to submit a written notice of his arrival to the clerk of court within 24 hours from his arrival in the Philippines.

In September last year, the Sandiganbayan convicted Cunanan along with two others, TLRC chief accountant Marivic Jover and former Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Gregorio T. Ipong in a malversation and graft case for the supposed misuse in 2007 of legislative funds amounting to PHP9.6 million from the Priority Assistance Development Fund (PDAF).

Another co-accused, TLRC director general Antonio Y. Ortiz, remains at large while a private individual, Alfredo A. Ronquillo died during the pendency of the case.

Separate petitions appealing the Sandiganbayan ruling have been filed before the SC on the case, where the three had been sentenced by the anti-graft court’s Third Division to up to 10 years in prison for the graft case and up to 18 years in prison for the malversation case

In its ruling, the anti-graft court said their “individual acts.. although seemingly distinct, if taken together, reveal a common design and oneness of purpose”.

The case arose from the decision of the TLRC to allow an unaccredited non-governmental organization (NGO) Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (AFPI) to implement a PHP9.6 million project.

The disbursement voucher had been signed by Cunanan and Jover despite the non-accreditation of AFPI as required under Commission on Audit (COA) Circular No. 96-003.

In 2019, the Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman ordering the dismissal from service of Cunanan for dishonesty and grave misconduct in another case involving the disbursement of PHP35 million in PDAF in 2007 of then Ilocos Sur Rep. Salacnib Baterina.

In that case, the COA and the Ombudsman found Cunanan administratively liable and noted that there were no documents submitted to substantiate the actual utilization and liquidation of the allocated funds and that the selected beneficiary NGOs — the Philippine Social Development Foundation, Inc. (PSDFI) and the Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. (KMFI) — were not accredited. (PNA)

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