FORMER Albay representative Edcel Lagman and his daughter are facing charges of graft and malversation of public funds before the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Funds close to P200 million.
The complainants—Hernando Bruce, a bishop of the Jesus Miracle Crusade and Roberto Barcela, Barangay Bonga chairman in Bacacay, Albaya—accused Lagman and his daughter, ex-Tabaco mayor Cielo Krisel Lagman-Luistro of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for alleged misuse of his pork barrel fund.
Bruce and Barcela alleged Lagman diverted his PDAF for the development of areas “outside” his legislative district.
“Sometime between the years 2007 and 2009, Respondent Lagman diverted his Priority Disbursement Assistance Fund for various projects, even if such projects were located OUTSIDE his legislative district, [Quezon City, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija] in the amount of P86 million,” the complaint read.
Also, Lagman allegedly funded projects constructed on private properties in Quezon City at P18.56 million, including construction repairs on a clubhouse inside a private subdivision.
“Lagman funded projects located in Tabaco City that unduly benefited private entities and suppliers of dubious nature,” the complaint stated.
According to Bruce and Barcela, the former lawmaker adopted a loan program by making it appear that organizations by the names of San Carlos Agro-Industrial Multi-Purpose Cooperative and Bacolod-Tayhi Homeworks Association Inc. borrowed P1,500,000.00 and P134,000.00, respectively.
“But as per the COA Report, the program was not supported with a project proposal, request from beneficiaries and evaluation report on the need to grant assistance. More notable is the fact that the supposed financial assistance given to the two (2) entities was not in line with the principle of the government of releasing funds strictly for public purposes, since the said organizations are private in nature,” the complaint read.
Lagman was also accused of extended scholarship grants to certain individuals totaling P26,749,000.
“But as per the COA report, the said scholarship program was not supported with request from the intended beneficiaries. There was likewise no proof that students were enrolled in any educational institution,” the complainants said.