Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan and former Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Ejercito Estrada face a preliminary investigation by the Ombudsman for their alleged involvement in a P220-million scam in the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
In a statement on Friday, the Office of the Ombudsman said the following face investigation for violation of the antigraft and corrupt practices act and malversation through falsification of public documents: Honasan, Estrada, former Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, former Rep. Arturo Robes of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, and five officials of the DAR and Department of Budget and Management.
Ombudsman field investigators said that from 2010 to 2011, the DAR allocated P220 million for livelihood and training projects for farmers in 27 municipalities in the provinces of Isabela, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Ilocos Norte, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Quezon, Batangas, and Pangasinan.
Of the P220 million, at least P20 million was released from the 2010 DAR regular fund upon Honasan’s request, and that P100 million was sourced from Honasan’s Priority Development Assistance Fund.
Meanwhile, at least P50 million was released upon Estrada’s request, while another P50 million was released for projects endorsed by Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Jerry Pacturan.
The projects turned out to be nonexistent, resulting in a disallowance by the Commission on Audit, the Ombudsman said.