Friday, September 22, 2017

Ex-Bulacan Rep. Alvarado faces graft raps over pork barrel scam

Former Bulacan 1st District representative Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado faces indictment over her alleged involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the filing of charges against Alvarado before the Sandiganbayan for three counts of graft and three counts of malversation.

The Ombudsman also named as her co-accused Region III officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Minda Brigoli, Adelina Apostol, Mely Pangilinan, Maria Piedra; and Nestor Custodio, General Manager of the Cooperative Rural Bank of Bulacan (CRBB).

Records showed that in January 2008 P3million of Alvarado’s PDAF was released for a project under the DSWD’s Protective Services for Individuals and Families in Difficult Circumstances under the Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (CIDSS) program.

The investigation conducted by the Ombudsman found that P1 million was found to have been transferred to the account of the DSWD Regional III Office at the CRBB to allegedly to establish a micro-financing scheme under the CIDSS program.

Citing National Budget Circular No. 476, the Ombudsman pointed out “PDAF allocations should be directly released only to those government agencies identified in the project menu.”

“It did not authorize the direct release of funds to CRRB, a cooperative rural bank,” read its resolution.

The Ombudsman stressed “since the PDAF is for a public purpose, it may not be allocated for funding a private banking institution such as CRBB, a private stock corporation which operates primarily for profit and for the benefit of its members only.”

It added “the DSWD’s Protective Services Program provides a range of interventions or financial assistance to individuals, families, and communities in crisis or difficult situations, such as those affected by or vulnerable to disasters.”

“Clearly, Alvarado’s P1million PDAF was never intended for microfinancing activities of CRBB,” it ruled.

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