On Tuesday, November 14, the Ombudsman of the Philippines Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the dismissal of Sen. Joel Villanueva from public service after finding him administratively liable for misuse and misallocation of P10 Million pork barrel back in 2008.
The case was based on the administrative years of Sen. Villanueva back in 2008 as former representative of Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list where P10 Million from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was released to the National Agri-Business Corporation (Nabcor) allotted for “agri-based livelihood projects in the various congressional districts in Region XI.” The Ombudsman also said that their implementing NGO partner is Aaron Foundation Philippines Incorporated (AFPI).
The fund was supposed to be intended for various agricultural necessities such as seedlings, fertilizers and threshers for the municipalities of Compostela Valley province. However, results of the investigation shows that the intended municipalities were not suitable for agriculture and there were ghost beneficiaries. In addition, it also revealed that AFPI has no agriculture-based projects in the area.
In addition to the dismissal, the Villanueva will also face charges from the Sandiganbayan for “two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019), one count each for Malversation of Public Funds and Malversation thru Falsification of Public Documents.”
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III was ordered by Ombudsman Morales to implement the dismissal order but he said he will wait first for the action taken by the Ombudsman as Sen. Villanueva filed a motion for reconsideration. Villanueva said that he did not receive the large amount as minority congressman and NBI concluded that his signatures on the documents were forged.
Alongside Villanueva, former Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary Arthur Yap; Villanueva's staff Ronald Samonte; DA employee Delia Ladera; Nabcor officials Alan Javellana, Romulo Relevo, Maria Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, Rhodora Mendoza, and Maria Ninez Guanizo; and AFPI president Alfredo Ronquillo are also facing graft and corruption charges.
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