SYJUCO, ECHIVERRI INDICTED FOR GRAFT ANEW
Former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr. and former Caloocan Mayor Enrico Echiverri have been charged anew with separate graft cases in the Sandiganbayan.
Syjuco was charged with graft in connection with the misuse of P5 million in the 2004 fertilizer fund scam.
It was the latest in the string of criminal charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against Syjuco, who later headed the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).
As for Echiverri, prosecutors accused him of irregularly awarding two contracts for drainage works totaling P17.27 million in 2012, without approval of the city council.
The three new graft charges against the former mayor brought the total count of his pending court cases to 33.
The case against Syjuco stemmed from the irregular implementation of the Department of Agriculture’s Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) program through a nongovernment organization (NGO) instead of the Alimodian municipal government.
Prosecutors questioned the municipal council’s May 12, 2004, resolution allowing late Mayor Bernardo Ambut to enter into the agreement with Tawo Kag Duta sa Kauswagan Cooperative for the purchase of farm inputs and equipment.
The municipality also executed an undated memorandum of agreement designating the cooperative as the “implementing nongovernment organization” for its GMA program.
Syjuco’s other Sandiganbayan cases include the alleged overpricing of Tesda’s education materials by P61 million, the alleged anomalies in the award of P79.9 million in Tesda scholarships and the alleged diversion of P4.3 million in pork barrel funds to an NGO that supposedly served as a conduit for his poultry business.
In the case against Echiverri, prosecutors also said that there were no specific or itemized appropriation ordinances for the drainage projects awarded to P.B. Grey Construction and Red Scorpion Construction and Supply in Barangays 177 and 64.
The contracts were worth P16.4 million and P860,450.42, respectively.