Former Malimono mayor faces raps for non-existent projects

By SHIANEE MAMANGLU

The Office of the Ombudsman indicted recently a former mayor of Malimono in Surigao del Norte over projects worth P700,000 that never existed.
 
Mayor Clemente Gesta Sandigan Jr. was charged before the Sandiganbayan with violation of Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.


In a nine-page resolution, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Moralez said she found merit on the case filed and that the accused “is probably guilty thereof” of the crime of malversation of public funds.

The case aroused from a complaint filed in 2004 and the report disclosed by the Commission on Audit (CoA) that accused Sandigan allegedly utilized the municipality’s funds intended to finance several projects in his locality.

The funds obtained from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of then Senator Rob ert Barbers were supposed to be allocated for the construction of two-storey multipurpose building, barangay hall, barangay social hall in Barangay Masgad (P200,000); concreting of Barangay Karihatag Road in Poblacion (P50,000); construction of Day Care Center at Barangay Hanagdong (P200,000); construction of barangay hall at Barangay Pili (P200,000) and repair of Hanagdong Elementray School (P50,000).

But the CoA Report said that the projects were never implemented. This was allegedly certified by the village chiefs of Barangay Hangdong, Pili, Masgad, and Karihatag.

CoA said that the municipality’s December 2005 “Accomplish Report” signed by the municipal engineer and even Sandigan also showed that the said projects were “NY implemented”.

The CoA likewise discovered that the funds for the said projects were no longer within the coffers of the municipality.

In his defense, Sandigan averred that the municipality has implemented one of the five PDAF projects – the two-storey multi-purpose building project in Barangay Masgad that was turned over and accepted by Barangay Captain Abdon Estrella Sr. on October 10, 2006.

But he admitted there was an honest mistake in the use of the PDAF to implement an urgent calamity rehabilitation project since the Special allotment Release Order (SARO) from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was received only after the completion of the rehabilitation project. (Tempo)

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