Former Iloilo Representative Rolex Suplico to be prosecuted for alleged PDAF-related graft

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales

OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio Morales said her office found probable cause to file graft charges against former Iloilo Representative Rolex Suplico and two other persons before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the anomalous utilization of his 2007 Priority Development Assistance Fund.

Morales, in a statement sent to Beyond Deadlines, said Suplico violated Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act). She added that Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) Director General Antonio Ortiz and AARON Foundation Philippines Inc (AARON) President Alfredo Ronquillo were charged as Suplico’s co-accused before the same anti-graft court.

Former iloilo Rep. Rolex Suplico. Photo © untvweb.com

Case records showed that right before the 2007 elections, Suplico received Php14,700,000.00 as part of his PDAF on 04 May 2007. The funds, which were intended for livelihood and development projects in the 5th district of Iloilo, were transferred to the TLRC, as implementing agency, and later released to the AARON Foundation, as NGO-partner, for the implementation of the projects.

Based on an audit conducted by the Special Audit Office of the Commission on Audit (COA), the PDAF remains unliquidated.

The COA also reported that the project implementation and the NGO-selection process were not compliant with the provisions of COA Circular No. 2007-01 and Government Procurement Policy Board Resolution No. 12-2007.

Moreover, the Office of the Ombudsman also found that no business permit had been issued to AARON since 2004 and that its business address is located in a vacant lot, thus, casting doubt as to its existence and legitimacy.

According to the Ombudsman Resolution, “there is no evidence showing that respondent Suplico exerted efforts to ensure that AARON liquidated the Php14,700,000.00 which could only mean that he benefited from the transaction or that he was grossly negligent. It is emphasized that respondent Suplico is accountable for the funds because he has control and actual custody of the funds as these funds cannot be released without his consent and directives. Such failure/refusal to liquidate the Php14,700,000.00 clearly casts doubt as to the validity, propriety and legality of the transaction between respondents, causing undue injury to the government and giving unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to AARON.”

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