SYJUCO, ECHIVERRI IN­DICTED FOR GRAFT ANEW

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - NEWS - By Vince F. Nonato @VinceNona­toINQ

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.

Ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties

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.

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