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Ex-Albay Rep. Lim faces charges for P27-M PDAF scam

Ex-Rep Reno Lim
The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the filing of charges against former 3rd district Albay Representative Reno Lim for the anomalous utilization of his 2007 Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) amounting to P27 million.

Lim, together with five Technology Resource Center (TRC) officials, Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. (KMFI) representatives and Carmelita Barredo of C.C. Barredo Publishing House, are facing charges for four counts of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and four counts of Malversation.  

Included in the charge sheet are TRC executives Antonio Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan, Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, Marivic Jover and Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, as well as KMFI representatives Carlos Soriano and France Mercado.

Records show that in August and November 2007, Lim requested the release of his PDAF amounting to P30 million and identified TRC as implementing agency with KMFI as NGO-partner.

The P30 million was intended for the procurement of 8,000 sets of livelihood instructional materials and technology kits.  In 2008, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed by Lim, TRC and KMFI representatives. In its implementation, Lim “personally handpicked KMFI twice as project implementor without the benefit of public bidding.”

The Commission on Audit uncovered blatant anomalies in the fund use, citing the lack of public bidding; lack of track record of KMFI as it was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission only in 2006;  the NGO has no legitimate business address as its address is the same as C.C. Barredo; no accreditation process undertaken to determine the capacity of KMFI; payment of P27million was made prior to signing the MOA; and project was considered  “fictitious or ghost project” as no deliveries of livelihood kits were made.  

In their field validation, Ombudsman investigators ascertained that “not one among the constituents of said legislative district received the livelihood technology kit.”

As defense, Lim refutes the genuineness of his signatures in the documents and claims that as “a neophyte congressman, he merely followed the PDAF pre-implementation procedure.”

In finding probable cause, the Resolution narrated that “Lim had treated the same [fund] as it were his own funds, dictating how it should be utilized and released.  He not only determined the project, the implementing agency and the NGO, but also determined how much of his PDAF should go to the projects.”

According to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, “the respondents’ combined acts indubitably point to a concerted action to divert public funds drawn from Lim’s PDAF.”  She added that “the nefarious scheme basically involved projects supposed to be funded by said PDAF, which projects turned out to be fictitious or inexistent.”

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