Ombudsman files criminal raps vs. 5 ex-lawmakers on PDAF scam

By on February 6, 2015

Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City. Photo courtesy of DGR Law Offices.
Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City. Photo courtesy of DGR Law Offices.

MANILA — The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) on Thursday filed before the Sandiganbayan criminal charges against five former lawmakers for allegedly receiving “kickbacks” from their respective Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

In a press conference, Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan named those charged as former congresswoman and now Masbate Gov. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, former Benguet Rep. Samuel Dangwa, former Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza, former Cagayan De Oro City Rep. Constantino Jaraula and former Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) party-list Rep. Edgar Valdez.

Lanete was charged with plunder and multiple counts of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act” for her alleged anomalous utilization of the PDAF amounting to Php112.29 million from 2007 to 2009.

Meanwhile, Valdez was charged with plunder and seven counts of graft and three counts of direct bribery.

On the other hand, Plaza was charged with five counts of malversation, five counts of graft and two counts of direct bribery for allegedly allotting Php27.5 million of his PDAF from 2008 to 2009 to the fake non-government organizations (NGOs) of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

Napoles is the alleged “branis” behind the Php10-billion PDAF and the Php900-million Malampaya fund scams.

Likewise, Dangwa was charged with one count of malversation, five counts of direct bribery and three counts of graft for allegedly allotting Php54 million of his PDAF to Napoles’ NGOs.

At the same time, Jaraulla was charged with three counts of malversation, graft and direct bribery for allegedly receiving “commissions” from the PDAF amounting to Php20.8 million.

The Ombudsman earlier dismissed the motions for reconsiderations (MRs) of the five respondents, respectively.

This prompted the filing of the cases before the Sandiganbayan.