By Edu Punay, Source: Philstar.com
MANILA, Philippines - Detained former governor Zaldy Ampatuan and other former officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be charged with plunder for the alleged misallocation of ARMM funds worth at least P2.559 billion.
It was agreed during the closed-door meeting that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) would turn over to the Department of Justice (DOJ) within this week the Commission on Audit (COA) report and other documents detailing excessive disbursements of ARMM funds made during Ampatuan’s tenure from January 2008 to September 2009, including an unaccounted amount worth P1 billion.
“We will evaluate those documents so (we) can form appropriate legal strategy in pursuing that plunder case,” De Lima said.
“We have to really closely examine them so we can come up with a clean legal perspective of the case.”
Speaking to reporters, De Lima said she plans to create a special committee of state prosecutors for this purpose.
The evaluation would be done with the assistance of the Office of the Solicitor General, she added.
De Lima said they plan to determine who could be held liable for the questionable disbursement of ARMM funds uncovered during a COA special audit conducted from Feb. 1 to Dec. 20 last year.
Robredo said they are submitting 15 names to the DOJ, including Ampatuan as the highest official, for investigation.
De Lima said they would also look into possible cover-up of the anomaly.
“In the first place, why was the audit conducted only last year?” she said.
“There are supposed to be auditors assigned there – they are either scared or complicit.
“This (anomaly) should not have passed if those involved followed the processes and inspected the projects before releasing the funds.”
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