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Ex-Pres. Arroyo, Ermita, ex-DAR, DBM execs, 20 others rapped with plunder on P900-M Malampaya fund scam

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Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (MNS Photo)

Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (MNS Photo)

MANILA, Oct. 3 (Mabuhay) – The Dept. of Justice on Thursday filed plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman against former President and now Pampanga (2nd District) Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and several former and current government officials in connection with the alleged P900-million Malampaya Fund scam.

The P900-million fund was supposed to be intended for the victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in September 2009 and was allegedly disbursed through the local government units.

Aside from Arroyo and Ermita, also charged with plunder and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act were former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and the presidents of the 12 non-governmental organizations of Napoles.

Also charged were former Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Rafael Nieto and DAR finance officer Teresita Panlilio; former Budget Secretary and now Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya, Jr., and Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos.

In the sworn statements filed at the Ombudsman, Napoles allegedly conspired with the other respondents to make it appear that the local government officials have a legitimate request to the Department of Agriculture for the materials and equipment for the farmers for the reconstruction, rehabilitation and repair of damages brought about by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009, however, no delivery of the same was made.

The complaint alleged that Executive Order 848 was issued on Oct. 13, 2009 by then President Arroyo which was made as the basis of the Oct. 8, 2009 request for the release of the DAR Malampaya funds.

Pangandaman allegedly withdrew P75 million, Relampagos withdrew P6 million and Panlilio withdrew P242,775,000 from the DAR Malampaya funds, respectively.

However, the principal of the P242,775,000 was withdrawn with the still unidentified principal, who is still being traced by the NBI probers.

It was earlier reported that 97 mayors were allegedly involved in the P900-million Malampaya fund scam using the bogus NGOs of Napoles.

However, investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation showed that the signatures of the said mayors were forged.

Among these mayors are from the provinces of Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Iloilo, Bulacan, Laguna, Isabela, Batangas, Tarlac, Northern Samar, Cagayan, Kalinga, Camarines Sur, Davao Oriental and Catanduanes.

The Malampaya fund is sourced from the income of the natural gas field in Palawan which has some 2.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.

The said natural gas field is also being used by three power plants in Luzon.

Because of the project, the Malampaya consortium is paying the government and for this year, some US$ 1.1 billion was paid as “royalties” which is equivalent to almost P50 billion. (MNS)

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