PASTRANA NEWS –– The vice–president of the Federation of Civil Society Organizations and a Punong Barangay here has filed a formal complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against Pastrana Leyte mayor Ernesto Martillo for alleged graft and corruption involving the alleged anomalous use of a multi-million peso government livelihood fund intended for victims of typhoon Yolanda.
Included as respondents were the mayor’s sister Evelyn Martillo–Bacleaan and niece Jocelyn Martillo–Ala, municipal treasurer Eraño Calumag, accountant Rodolfo Sapra, Bids and Awards Committee chairman Gina Victoria Cayaco, and Cebu based suppliers Gerardo Labong and Glenn Largo for their alleged various roles in the anomalous transactions.
In a complaint–affidavit received by the Office of the Ombudsman–Visayas, Tingib barangay chairman Raynario Galvez and FCSO vice–president Michael Plimaco informed that the respondents confederated to defraud the government by making it appear that intended beneficiaries received various livelihood projects from a P10.6 million peso fund earlier downloaded to the municipality by the Department of Labor and Employment under a so called ‘Kabuhayan Project’.
Galvez and Plimaco however said that the supposed 984 recipients of the project are still to establish their kabuhayan businesses despite the lapse of several months after most of the funds were actually paid to Cebu based suppliers contracted by the respondent officials.
The complainants discovered the alleged anomaly when they learned that the Department of Labor and Employment was already asking the municipal officials concerned for the liquidation of the funds since October 2015. DOLE downloaded the fund to the local government of Pastrana as early as June 2015.
‘We have received several inquiries from the general public and some Sangguniang Bayan members of Pastrana about the local implementation of the livelihood program’, DOLE labor employment office head Bernardita Navarra told the Visayan Business Post.
Navarra added that DOLE Regional Director Elias Cayanong formally asked Mayor Ernesto Martillo and the municipality’s Public Employment Service Officer Jocelyn Ala to submit terminal financial reports liquidating the P10.6 Million fund as early as October 14, 2015. No report was submitted by the respondents to the DOLE.
Navarra said that the fund liquidation was ‘already overdue’ since the Memorandum of Agreement signed by both Martillo and Ala required the latter to submit financial reports of the fund’s expenditures not exceeding three months after the notice to proceed was given for the project in June.
Meanwhile, the complainants charged that the respondents committed malversation of public funds by falsifying documents in order to facilitate the release of full payments to their co–respondents suppliers despite the latter’s alleged failure to deliver the required goods in violation of their contract and in the absence of proper accounting documents.
Pastrana District I resident Florencio Piajo whose name was listed as a recipient of a sewing machine under the questioned kabuhayan project told the Visayan Business Post that he does not know how to sew. ‘I accepted the sewing machine from respondent Jocelyn Ala because according to her there was nothing more they could give me under the program’, he said adding that the machine has not been able to give him any livelihood so far.
The complainants Galvez and Plimaco are also asking the Office of the Ombudsman to hold the respondents liable for not delivering the livelihood assistance of most of the 984 beneficiaries listed by the respondents under the failed ‘kabuhayan project’.