Thursday, August 27, 2015

TRB chief Edmundo Reyes, Jr. charged with malversation for fertilizer fund scam

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Toll Regulatory Board Executive Director Edmund Reyes has been charged by the Office of the Ombudsman for malversation and graft for releasing funds to a non-government organization (NGO) 10 years ago when he was still representative of Marinduque.
The transaction was part of the P728 fertilizer fund scam where the Arroyo administration diverted money meant for the distribution of farm inputs and equipment for its allies in the controversy-marred 2004 elections.
Reyes, who was representative of Marinduque for three terms from 1998 to 2007, is the brother Marinduque Rep. Regina Ongsiako Reyes and the son of Marinduque Gov. Carmencita O. Reyes.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved the filing of Informations for Malversation and violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) against  Reyes, seven Department of Agriculture (DA) officials, and Margie Tajon Luz, president of  Gabaymasa Foundation, Inc.
In the Resolution, the Special Panel on Task Force Abono Cases found that in 10 March 2004, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was entered into between the DA Regional Field Unit IV (DA-RFU IV) represented by Araullo, Reyes (representing the lone district of Marinduque) and Luz of Gabaymasa as project implementor for the procurement of fertilizers worth P5 million with B.T. Mangrubang as supplier.
Morales said the selection of Gabaymasa as project implementor violated Commission on Audit (COA) Circular No. 96-003 which specifically provides for the process of accreditation, verification and validation of NGOs.
The Ombudsman said Gabaymasa was not based in the community where the project was implemented as its place of business is in Quezon City; only the 2003 Financial Statements (FS) were submitted in violation of the COA Circular which requires the submission of FS for the last three years to ensure that the NGO is in stable financial condition;  and Gabaymasa has no proven track record in the field of the agriculture.
The DA officials charged were  Regional Executive Director Dennis Araullo, Regional Accountant Raymundo Braganza, Regional Technical Directors Balagtas Torres and Rodolfo Guieb, Legislative Coordinator Lucille Odejar, and Cashier II DoryIranzo.
Morales said that “public officers Reyes, Araullo, Braganza, Torres, Guieb, Odejar, and Iranzo, in conspiracy with Luz consented or, through abandonment or negligence, permitted Gabaymasa to take the P5 million fund in the guise of lawful disbursement” exhibiting “a deliberate lack of care or diligence in the performance of their respective duties…to achieve a common design of defrauding the government.”
The Ombudsman also found Araullo, Braganza, Torres, Guieb, Odejar and Iranzo were found guilty of Serious Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and were dismissed from the service with accessory penalties of forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from holding public office. - Politiko

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