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Rex Suplicon charged in P14.7M pork scam with bogus Aaron Foundation,

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Former Iloilo Rep. Rolex Suplico is facing graft charges before the Sandiganbayan for the alleged anomalous use of his 2007 Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) amounting to PHP14.7 million.

In a resolution approved on Jan. 8, 2018, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales found probable cause to charge Suplico with one count of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”

Likewise charged were Antonio Ortiz, Director General of the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC), and Alfredo Ronquillo, president of AARON Foundation Philippines, Incorporated (AARON).

Case records disclosed that right before the 2007 elections, Suplico received P14.7 million as part of his PDAF on May 4, 2007.

The funds were transferred to the TLRC, as implementing agency, intended for livelihood and development projects in the 5th District of Iloilo, which were then released to AARON, as a non-government organization (NGO)-partner, for the implementation of the projects.

The Special Audit Office of the Commission on Audit (COA) reported that 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.

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

In its resolution, the Ombudsman said: “There is no evidence showing that respondent Suplico exerted efforts to ensure that AARON liquidated the P14,700,000 which could only mean that he benefitted 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 P14,700,000.00 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,” it added. (PNA)