Former Iloilo lawmaker
faces raps for ‘torrid’ NGO row

June 28 2016 1:46 PM

A former Iloilo congressman faces charges before the Sandiganbayan for what the Office of the Ombudsman branded Tuesday, June 28, as a “torrid” graft case.

The Ombudsman found probable cause against former Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr. with malversation and graft for getting a government contract with his own non-government organization.

Ombudsman Conchita Morales also ordered the filing of charges against Eduardo Lecciones, former regional director of the Department of Agriculture; Mylene Villanueva of Tagipusuon; and Antonio Rojas, president of Ilonggo Chickboy Corp.

Morales described the respondents’ actions as showing “torrid signs of a criminal activity contrived clandestinely,” with Syjuco using these two entities “in bilking out public money from the treasury.”

Investigation showed Syjuco used his Tagipusuon Foundation Inc. as a conduit to obtain P4.3 million in government funds to finance Chickboy’s poultry business in 2000.

“Syjuco controls the NGO and Ilonggo Chickboy Corporation. The P4.3-million financial grant extended by the DA to Tagipusuon was intended to finance its district-wide poultry breeding and production project,” the Ombudsman said.

It said Chickboy Corp. then entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the NGO for the supply of Kabir chicks.

But the Ombudsman found several anomalies in the fund disbursement, including:

– lack of public bidding in choosing the NGO as project-implementor

– Tagipusuon had no track record and no declared experience in project implementation

– the MOA had no clear project statement, list of intended beneficiaries, project cost estimates, time schedules, as well as monitoring and inspection requirements. MC

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