Ex-solon charged with graft over P14-M ‘pork’

ILOILO City – The Office of the Ombudsman has charged former Iloilo 5th District congressman Rolex Suplico with graft before the Sandiganbayan for the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) amounting to P14.7 million in 2007.

Ombudsman Assistant Special Prosecutor III Jorge Espinal filed a complaint specifically for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

On May 4, 2007 P14.7 million in Suplico’s PDAF for livelihood and development projects in the 5th District were transferred to the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) as implementing agency then released to AARON Foundation Philippines, Inc., a nongovernment organization tapped as partner in the project’s implementation.

The Ombudsman said AARON Foundation lacked a business permit thus ineligible to receive PDAF but TLRC still released the funds “based merely on the endorsement” of Suplico and/or Antonio Ortiz, then director general of TLRC.

Ortiz has been named a respondent in the Ombudsman complaint, too, together with foundation resident Alfredo Ronquillo.

The Ombudsman also said there was no public bidding held in violation of the Government Procurement Act.

It further criticized Suplico for the “utter lack of effort to ensure the implementation of the projects and the liquidation of the public funds thereby causing undue injury to the government.”

Suplico said he has yet to receive and read the complaint. He, however, stressed, he would be facing it.

He also insisted he did not know Ronquillo and from what he had read in a national daily, he said the man already passed away.

The case was approved for filing by then Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on June 29, 2018 but was filed only after Ombudsman Samuel Martires re-approved the information on Oct. 11, 2018.

“I cannot discuss my defense publicly. I cannot discuss the merits of my case publicly because I will fall under the sub judice rule,” said Suplico, a lawyer. (With a report from ABS-CBN News/PN)



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