Graft raps filed vs. Quezon solon over P70M worth of agricultural, marine supplies

Published November 4, 2020, 6:08 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

A complaint for plunder, graft, malversation, and failure to render accounts has been filed against Quezon 2nd District Rep. David “Jay-Jay” Suarez and several others before the Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday due to the reported misappropriation of P70 million worth of agricultural and marine supplies from 2015 to 2017.

Quezon 2nd District Rep. David “Jay-Jay” Suarez

Diego Magpantay, National President of the Citizens’ Crime Watch Association (CCW), filed the complaint against Suarez in his capacity as the former governor of Quezon, provincial accountant Evangelina Ong, provincial treasurer Rosario Marilou Uy, provincial budget officer Diego Salas, and provincial agriculturist Roberto Gajo.

In 2015, 2016, and 2017, the province of Quezon implemented various projects for the development of its agricultural sector. The majority of the projects required the purchase and distribution of agricultural inputs to various recipients from 2015 to 2016.

But when the Commission on Audit (COA) conducted a review of Agricultural and Marine Supplies for Distribution Account as of December 31, 2017, it was revealed that the balance of P71,444,575.85 was already noted in calendar year 2016, but no action was made by the responsible offices to submit the list of recipients (LOR).

The COA found it “doubtful” that no LOR including the Certificate of Acceptance was submitted by the accountable persons to the Provincial Accounting Office. “Despite prior year’s audit recommendation, we still noted the lack of initiative of the responsible offices to submit the LOR within the period the inventory was distributed to its intended recipients,” the complaint read.

Magpantay stressed in the complaint that Suarez and the other respondents’ failure to submit the LORs raises the presumption that they misappropriated or converted government funds for their own use or benefit.

“At the risk of being redundant, respondent Suarez during the relevant period had the legal obligation to submit the LORs as proof that the public funds were properly used and government projects were properly implemented. Considering the staggering amount of P71,444,578.85, respondent Suarez should have immediately submitted the LORs,” the complaint stated.

Magpantay said that Suarez and the other respondents should be slapped with the administrative charges of Grave Misconduct, Dishonesty, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of Service.

As for the criminal charges, he wants them held liable for violation of R.A. 7080 or the Plunder Law, Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code or Malversation of Public Funds, Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code or Failure of Accountable Officer to Render Accounts, and Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.