Ex-solon’s co-accused loses plea for more evidence in graft case

Ex-solon’s co-accused loses plea for more evidence in graft case

MANILA – The Sandiganbayan anti-graft court has turned down a plea filed by a co-accused of former Negros Oriental congressman Herminio Teves in graft charges arising from an alleged PHP9.6 million worth of ghost projects funded by the solon’s pork barrel in 2007.

The anti-graft court dismissed the motion filed by Samuel Bombeo Sr. to allow three pieces of evidence for his defense.

Bombeo, along with Teves and several others, were charged for causing “undue injury” when they chose and indorsed Molugan Foundation Inc. (MFI), a non-governmental organization controlled by Bombeo, to implement a livelihood program funded by Teves’ Priority Development Assistant Fund (PDAF) without public bidding and despite MFI being unaccredited and unqualified to undertake the project.

In November last year, the court allowed all of Bombeo’s evidence, except for the three that he appealed for inclusion — the death certificates of his employee and project manager Roberto Gianan and Olivia Martinez, from whom he rented office space in Cagayan de Oro; documents from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council; and village certifications.

The graft court, in a six-page resolution dated March 29 and made public Monday, said it saw no relevance and materiality in allowing the death certificates as evidence while the other documents did not follow the required form in introducing public documents as evidence.

Bombeo claimed the evidence would help him substantiate claims of projects undertaken by his organization, including those during the onslaught of Typhoon Sendong in 2011.

Likewise charged were Teves’ former chief of staff, Hiram Diday Pulido; and former Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) officials Antonio Ortiz (director general), Dennis Cunanan (deputy director general), Francisco Figura (department manager), Marivic Jover (chief accountant), and Belina Concepcion (legislative liaison).

Teves was sued in 2017 after the Ombudsman uncovered the documents that showed his PHP10-million PDAF, originally intended for livelihood projects for depressed villages in the Third District, was instead used to fund ghost projects.

The former solon requested for the release of his fourth tranche of PDAF allocations in December 2006 and selected the TLRC as implementing agency and MFI as conduit.

Despite being a ghost project, respondents facilitated the approval of the disbursement voucher and check for the MFI within one day. (PNA)

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