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Ex-Iloilo rep gets 16 years for PDAF misuse

Republika

The Sandiganbayan’s Special Second Division has convicted former Iloilo 2nd District Representative Judy Syjuco on two counts of graft for misusing a total of P20 million from her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) back in 2006, sentencing her to serve 16 years in prison.


Syjuco, along with former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director-general for field operations Santiago Yabut Jr., and Tagipusuon Foundation Inc. president Maria Nela Yniesta, were found guilty of violating sections 3 (e) and 3 (g) of Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.


Under section 3 (e), public officials are prohibited from providing undue benefits to any private party, as well as incurring injury to any party, while 3 (g) forbids public officials from signing any contract that would negatively impact the government.


In 2014 the Office of the Ombudsman opened an investigation into the PDAF misuse, which they suspected was being funneled through Tesda, as her late husband Agusto Syjuco Jr. was the agency’s chairperson at the time.


Tagipuson, founded and owned by Syjuco, was granted the contract of scholarship implementation, despite lacking the credentials to manage such a project.


During the deliberations, it was revealed that there was no documented liquidation of funds given to Tagipusuon, i.e. P5.298 million of the PDAF was “missing and unliquidated”.


Paper trails indicated that the non-government organization of Tagipusuon had spent P1.687 million on so-called admin expenses, which included hotel stays and even utility bills.


Syjuco was also mandated by the court to settle P6.985 million in damages.

Photo: Inquirer.net


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