Ombudsman orders dismissal of Villanueva from government service
The Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of Senator Joel Villanueva from government service after he was found liable for the misuse of his 2008 Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of P10 million, a statement by the government agency said Monday..
Villanueva is set to face trial before the Sandiganbayan for two counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, one count each for malversation of public funds and malversation thru falsification of public documents, a statement from the Ombudsman said. He was a partylist congressman at that time.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III was directed by the Ombudsman to implement the dismissal order against Villanueva Pimentel, reported ANC, said the senate will wait for the decision of the Ombudsman on Villanueva’s motion for reconsideration before the dismissal is sent to the ethics committee.
This is the third graft case concerning senators. Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito is serving a 90-day suspension for graft from using calamity funds to buy firearms when he was a mayor. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian was cleared of graft last month by the Sandiganbayan.
Also included in the charge sheet are former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, Villanueva’s staff Ronald Samonte, DA employee Delia Ladera, NABCOR representatives Alan Javellana, Romulo Relevo, Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, Rhodora Mendoza, and Maria Ninez Guanizo; and Aaron Foundation Philippines, Inc. (AFPI) President Alfredo Ronquillo.
In a statement at the Senate website, Villanueva said: “I did not receive that amount. In addition, the NBI has already made a conclusion that the signatures on the related documents were forged.”
Villanueva said he has filed a motion for reconsideration before the Ombudsman, and will leave it to the senate president to act on the Ombudsman's order.
In a statement, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, citing Supreme Court jurisprudence, emphasized that “in a Congressional Pork Barrel System, it is the legislator who exercises actual control and custody of the PDAF share.”.DMS