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Napoles, ex-Davao rep Olaño found guilty over PDAF scam
Napoles, ex-Davao rep Olaño found guilty over PDAF scam
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Napoles, ex-Davao rep Olaño found guilty over PDAF scam
by Mhillen Nicole Borja01 July 2023
Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

Janet Lim-Napoles, along with former Davao Del Norte Representative Arrel Olaño and other individuals, have been found guilty by the Sandiganbayan of graft, malversation, and bribery.

Their charges are linked to the misappropriation of Olaño's Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) amounting to ₱7.72 million in 2007, during his tenure in Congress.

The 57-page verdict, released on June 30, resulted in Napoles, considered the mastermind, Olaño, and Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) employee Ma. Rosalinda Lacsamana was convicted on three counts of graft and three counts of malversation each.

The court also convicted two private individuals associated with non-government organizations controlled by Napoles.

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Evelyn De Leon from the Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. (PSDFI) was found guilty of two counts of graft and two counts of malversation, while Mylene Encarnacion from the Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic Development Foundation, Inc. (CARED) was convicted on one count each of graft and malversation.

They facilitated the implementation of livelihood projects in various barangays within Olaño's legislative district, utilizing his PDAF funds.

Imprisonment, reimburse

As part of the verdict, Napoles, Olaño, and Lacsamana have been ordered to return a total of ₱15,440,000 to the government, equivalent to twice the amount misused.

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The court sentenced them to imprisonment ranging from six to 10 years for each graft count and 10 to 16 years for each malversation count.

Meanwhile, De Leon has been instructed to reimburse ₱11,660,000 to the government, while Encarnacion has been directed to pay ₱3,780,000 as indemnity.

In addition to the graft and malversation charges, Olaño, who served as a congressman from 2001 to 2010, was found guilty of direct bribery.

The court determined that he accepted a ₱3,175,000 bribe in exchange for endorsing non-government organizations controlled by Napoles.

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Alongside the graft and malversation sentences, Olaño was fined ₱9,525,000 and will face an additional four to nine years of imprisonment.

On the other hand, former Department of Budget and Management officials Mario Relampagos, Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule, and Marilou Bare, as well as former TLRC officials Dennis Cunanan, Francisco Figura, Marivic Jover, and Consuelo Espiritu, were acquitted of all charges. The prosecution failed to establish their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Napoles had previously been convicted in 2019 for plunder in relation to the misuse of Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.'s PDAF, resulting in a 40-year prison sentence.

However, Napoles has been acquitted of 16 graft charges connected to the misappropriation of Revilla's PDAF funds.

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She was also found guilty of two counts of graft and two counts of malversation concerning the misuse of the late former Davao Del Sur 1st district Rep. Douglas Cagas' PDAF.

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