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Malampaya case finally hits Sandiganbayan, but plunder charges downgraded to malversation

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Ombudsman prosecutors have finally filed graft and malversation through falsification charges before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the P900-million Malampaya fund scam in 2009.

Former Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr., former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, and 22 others were charged with 97 counts each of malversation through falsification and violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Plunder charges ordered under the Ombudsman’s December 2016 resolution were no longer filed, however, because the Ombudsman partially granted an appeal in September 2017.

The cases arose from the alleged diversion of the gas field royalties to bogus foundations linked to Napoles.

Pangandaman allegedly received kickbacks respectively for requesting the funds from the Department of Budget and Management and for processing the payments without validating whether the projects were really implemented.

Ruby Tuason allegedly received commissions for facilitating the release of the funds through a contact in the Malacañang.

Andaya was blamed for agreeing to DAR Undersecretary Narciso Nieto’s request to release the discretionary funds “without any clear basis.”

Napoles’s children Jo Christine and James Christopher, brother Reynald Lim, nephew Ronald John Lim, and other employees allegedly fabricated requests for assistance from the mayors of 97 towns and cities in Luzon.

Prosecutors would present pork barrel scam whistleblowers Benhur Luy, Merlina Suñas and Marina Sula in these cases too.

The misused funds were diverted to the following fraudulent non-government organizations:
– Abundant Harvest for People’s Foundation, Inc. (AHPFI), P75 million;
– Bukirin Tanglaw Foundation, Inc. (BTFI), P75 million;
– Dalangpan Sang Amon Utod Kag Kasimanwa Foundation, Inc. (DSAUKKFI), P75 million;
– Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. (GAMF), P77.5 million;
– Gintong Pangkabuhayan Foundation, Inc. (GPFI), P82.5 million;
– Kaupdan Para Sa Mangunguma Foundation, Inc. (KMFI), P75 million;
– Karangayan Para sa Magbubukid Foundation, Inc. (KPMFI), P82.5 million;
– Kasaganahan Para sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. (KPSMFI), P75 million;
– Micro Agri Business Citizens Initiative Foundation, Inc. (MABCF), P55 million;
– Masaganang Buhay Foundation, Inc. (MBFI), P75 million;
– Saganang Buhay sa Atin Foundation, Inc. (SBAFI), P80 million, and;
– Tanglaw Para sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. (TPSMFI), P72.5 million.

Prosecutors recommended that bail be set at P22.31 million for the 194 cases.