THE Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday indicted former representative Herminio Teves of Negros Oriental for his supposed involvement in a P10-million Priority Development Assistance Fund scam in 2007.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the filing of one count of graft and one count of malversation of public funds against Teves, along with his former chief of staff Hiram Pulido, and Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Marivic Jover, Belina Concepcion and Francisco Figura of theTechnology and Livelihood Resource Center.
The Ombudsman provided the Anti-Money Laundering Council with copies of its resolution for possible violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
According to the Ombudsman, an extensive probe showed documents of Teves’ P10-million pork barrel fund went to ghost projects, and not to the livelihood projects for the depressed barangay in Negros Oriental’s District 3.
In December 2006, Teves requested the release of his fourth tranche of PDAF allocations, and partnered with the TLRC and Molugan Foundation Inc.
The Ombudsman’s field investigators said a public bidding was not conducted, and that the foundation’s address of incorporation and the whereabouts of its incorporators both yielded negative results.
Despite being a ghost project, respondents facilitated the approval of the disbursement voucher and check for the foundation in a single day.
Citing the Commission on Audit’s special audits office report and notice of disallowance, the Ombudsman said there was no document to show the actual fund utilization.
In his defense, Teves claimed that “his signatures appearing in various documents linking him to the transactions are products of forgery.”
But the Ombudsman rejected such defense, saying “forgery is not presumed; it must be proved by clear, positive and convincing evidence and the burden of proof lies on the party alleging forgery as mere variance of the signatures in different documents cannot be considered as conclusive proof that one is forged.”
“Certainly, this illegal conversion and transfer of public funds to the Molugan Foundation, purportedly for projects which did not actually exist, represent quantifiable pecuniary losses to the government constituting undue injury within the context of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019,” Morales said.