Sandiganbayan finds enough proof to convict ex-GOCC execs over ‘pork’ mess

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    TWO former ranking executives of a government-owned or controlled corporation (GOCC) have failed in their bid to seek outright dismissal of graft and malversation charges filed against them after the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division junked their motions for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence.

    “After a careful study of the documentary and testimonial evidence presented by the prosecution, the Court finds that, if unrebutted, the same is prima facie sufficient to support a verdict of guilt,” the anti-graft court ruled.

    Former Technology Resource Center (TRC) director general Dennis Cunanan and former chief accountant Marivic Jover, in separate motions, have told the court that evidence presented by prosecutors failed to establish the key elements of the criminal offenses they were accused of.

    The two were named co-accused of former North Cotabato Rep. Gregorio T. Ipong, former TRC director general Antonio Ortiz, and Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (AFPI) president Alfredo Ronquillo in graft and malversation charges filed in 2017 concerning the alleged misuse of P4.9 million from the lawmaker’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations.

    AFPI was tagged as the non-government organization (NGO) entrusted with Ipong’s PDAF for supposed implementation of livelihood projects for poverty-stricken areas of North Cotabato. However, investigators from the Office of the Ombudsman found that the fund transfer took place despite the absence of a public bidding.

    Worse, the supposed livelihood projects undertaken by AFPI turned out to be non-existent.