by Czarina Nicole O. Ong
Former Ilocos Sur 1st District Rep. Salacnib Figueras Baterina and several others are facing three counts of graft, three counts of malversation, and one count of direct bribery charges before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the P33.9-million priority development assistance fund (PDAF) scam allegedly instigated by Janet Lim Napoles.
Baterina was accused of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as well as Article 217 and 210 of the Revised Penal Code.
In 2007, Baterina reportedly conspired with officials of what was then the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) and private individuals Napoles, Godofredo Roque, Carlos Soriano, and France Mercado by endorsing non-government organization Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. (KMFI) as a “project partner” in livelihood projects for the 1st District of Ilocos Sur.
He awarded P9.6 million to the NGO without the benefit of public bidding. That same year, Baterina once again released another P9.6 million to a different NGO-Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. in providing livelihood projects to his constituents.
Next, Baterina chose to award another P14.7 million to KMFI in exchange for livelihood projects, even though KMFI is not accredited and is unqualified to take on the projects.
Because of these acts, Baterina allowed Napoles and her cohorts to “take possession and misappropriate the PDAF-drawn public funds instead of implementing the PDAF-funded projects, which turned out to be non-existent.”
As for Napoles and the other private individuals accused, they even prepared and signed the acceptance and delivery reports, disbursement reports, project proposals, and other liquidation documents to hide the fraudulent nature of the transaction.
Meanwhile, Baterina’s direct bribery charge also involved former Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairperson Zenaida Cruz-Ducut. They reportedly received the amount of P3 million from Napoles, with the intent of selecting the fake NGOs of Napoles for his PDAF livelihood and development projects.