Former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II is being investigated for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam when he was a senator. Documents obtained by The Star show the Office of the Ombudsman has launched a fact-finding probe on how Roxas, the Liberal Party’s losing presidential candidate, allegedly misused part of his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) allocations nine years ago.

Documents also show that the Field Investigation Office of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices has been tasked to probe Roxas. The anti-graft agency is in the process of gathering information on how Roxas allegedly gave public funds to non-government organization Kalookan Assistance Council Inc. (KACI) for various soft projects in 2007. Part of Roxas’ PDAF was allegedly used for funeral assistance, medical missions, livelihood programs, and other projects and activities which supposedly benefitted residents of Caloocan City. KACI was allegedly chosen to implement the projects through a Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services project. But KACI was among the 82 questionable groups listed by the Commission on Audit (COA) in its 2013 special audit report on the PDAF, which was eventually used to start investigations that led to the filing of plunder and graft charges against former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile and former senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada.

State auditors also found that KACI was among the NGOs that received PDAF from various legislators from 2007 to 2009 “despite the absence of law appropriating or specifically earmarking such funds to be contracted out to NGOs.” According to the COA report, KACI received P133.6 million in PDAF from various lawmakers through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Roxas allegedly gave P5 million in pork barrel funds to the NGO, which was registered with Securities and Exchange Commission and had a permit to operate for 2008 and 2009 with business address at PNR Compound, Torres Magallanes street, Caloocan City. “It did not, however, confirm its transactions and did not submit additional documents requested by the (audit) team,” the COA report said. To date, a handful of other former lawmakers have also been indicted before the Sandiganbayan for alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam. n February 2015, the Office of the Ombudsman bared that it is also investigating former Caloocan City representative Mary Mitzi Cajayon. KACI, headed by its president Cenon Mayor, was also the NGO tasked to implement her pork barrel fund projects amounting to P10 million in 2009. Also being investigated are former social welfare secretary Esperanza Cabral, former DSWD undersecretary Mateo Montaño, assistant secretary Vilma Cabrera, director Pacita Sarino and chief accountant Leonila Hayahay, and Mayor. The Office of the Ombudsman’s Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office elevated the graft and malversation of public funds complaints against them before the anti-graft agency’s preliminary investigation bureau. Source: thephilippinestar

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