Ex-TRC officials face graft, malversation charges

Published November 11, 2019, 2:55 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki 

Several officials from the now-abolished Technology Resource Center (TRC) have been slapped anew with graft and malversation charges before the Sandiganbayan Second Division due to the misuse of the late Compostela Valley Rep. Prospero Amatong’s P10 million priority development assistance fund (PDAF).

The TRC officials are Director General Antonio Ortiz, Director General, and Deputy Director General Dennis Cunanan, Legislative Liaison Officer and Group Manager Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, and Group Manager Francisco Figura.

The four of them are included in both violations of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, also known as malversation of public funds.

Meanwhile, private individuals from the Philippine Environmental and Ecological Development Association (PEEDAI) are included only in the graft charge. They are Chief Executive Officer Butch Canoy, Chief Operating Officer Vincent Jaudian, Treasurer Mercy Cabig, and Vice President Alfredo Soriano.

From May 4, 2007 to August 14, 2013, the accused officials from the TRC, formerly known as the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC), reportedly took advantage of their positions when they conspired with Amatong and gave unwarranted benefits to the PEEDAI when they released P10 million worth of public funds to the non-government organization.

The fund, which came from Amatong’s PDAF, was intended for the implementation of livelihood and development projects for the 2nd district of Compostela Valley entitled “District-Wide Livelihood & Entrepreneurial Promotions and Development Program.”

Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Jinky Anarna said that because of their actions, the PEEDAI officials were able to misappropriate public funds instead of “implementing the said PDAF-funded projects in the 2nd District of Compostela Valley, which project turned out to be non-existent, to the damage and prejudice of the government in the said amount.”