The Sandiganbayan has cleared former Quezon 2nd District Rep. Proceso Alcala of graft, malversation, and falsification charges arising from alleged anomalies involving his pork barrel funds amounting to P6 million.
However, the anti-graft court Alcala civilly liable “for his negligence in the strict and improper implementation of the project funded by his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).”
“He is ordered to pay the government the amount of P6.05 million,” the 89-page ruling stated, handed down on Tuesday.
Alcala was charged for endorsing the registration of a non-governmental organization (NGO), the Economic and Social Cooperation for Local Development Foundation Inc. (Ecosoc), as project partner in implementing a financial assistance /livelihood program for his constituents, to be funded by his PDAF.
The amount was disbursed in three tranches between March and June 2007.
The prosecution asserted that the Ecosoc turned out to be fictitious, and the intended beneficiaries did not receive the financial assistance.
In acquitting Alcala, the court said the act of endorsing Ecosoc did not make him criminally liable.
“(T)hat endorsement does not carry with it a peremptory directive to approve the same. As has been discussed, the discretion and decision to deny or grant Ecosoc’s application for registration, including the processing of the same, as well as the release of the said funds in whole or in part, lies with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as the implementing agency, and not Alcala,” the court explained.
A certain Roberto Solon, who represented himself as the executive director of Ecosoc, was a signatory in the memorandum of agreement which also included then-DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral.
Alcala’s endorsement was issued without verifying the authenticity of the documents, such as the liquidation reports, hotel rates, photos and list of intended beneficiaries.