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Father-and-son Cagas charged over 'pork' scam

The Office of the Ombudsman has formally filed charges against former Davao del Sur Reps. Douglas Cagas and his son, Marc Cagas IV, over their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.

The elder Cagas is facing two counts each of violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and malversation of public funds and one count of direct bribery.

Also charged with graft and malversation along with Cagas were former chairperson and chief executive officer of the Energy Regulatory Commission Zenaida Ducut, Department of Budget and Management Undersecretary for Operations Mario Relampagos, chief budget and management specialist Rosario Nunez, and administrative assistants Lalaine Paule and Marilou Bare.

Facing the same charges are Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) officials Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Francisco Figura, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, Marivic Jover, Maurene Dimaranan and Belina Concepcion.

Also named respondents are businesswoman and alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, and private individuals Evelyn De Leon, Eulogio Rodriguez and Mylene Encarnacion.

Ortiz was also charged with one count of direct bribery.

Marc Cagas, meanwhile, is facing two counts each of violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 and malversation of public funds.

Charged along with him were project consultant Vanie Semillano, TLRC officials Ortiz, Cunanan, Lacsamana, Jover, Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, and private individuals Johanne Edward Labay, Arnolfo Reyes and Aileen Carrasco.

In separate charge sheets filed with the Sandiganbayan, the Ombudsman said the elder Cagas, in alleged conspiracy with his co-respondents, allocated his Priority Development Assistance Fund, or pork barrel, to Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic and Development Foundation Inc.  and Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. in implementing livelihood projects for the 1st District in January and February 2007, respectively.

Both non-government organizations were controlled by Napoles, the Ombudsman said.

However, the Ombudsman said the projects turned out to be non-existent, and Napoles and her cohorts participated in the preparation and signing of acceptance of delivery reports, disbursement reports, project proposals and other documents "to conceal the fictitious nature of the transactions."

Cagas, the Ombudsman said, received kickbacks worth P9.3 million from Napoles for his participation in the scheme. Ortiz, meanwhile, received P1.6 million.

The same is the case for Marc Cagas, who allocated his PDAF to Farmbusiness Development Corporation, controlled by Labay, for his livelihood and development projects in February 2008.

The projects were also found to be non-existent, and the younger Cagas received kickbacks from Labay, the Ombudsman said.

In 2011, former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima named both Cagas as among those who benefited in the pork barrel scam. —KBK, GMA News