Ex-Bacolod congressman to be tried for 2005 SEA Games fund anomaly

June 28, 2017 - 7:42 AM
Former Bacolod congressman Monico Puentevella tees off at a golf tournament. (Philstar file photo)

MANILA, Philippines — A former congressman from Bacolod City will be charged before the Sandiganbayan on graft charges over the allegedly anomalous use of millions of pesos for the 23rd Southeast Asian Games hosted by the city in 2005.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said the failure of Monico Puentevella, who is also a former Bacolod mayor, “to liquidate or account for the amount of P21,565,832.50 which was under his custody and control, despite demands and the lapse of several years from the time the liquidation was due, would necessarily lead to the conclusion that he had used the funds for his personal benefit.”

The amount was part of P50 million earmarked for the SEA Games that had been released to the Bacolod South East Asian Games Organizing Committee and Puentevella.

After liquidation and audit of the funds, letters were sent from 2008 to 2009 to BASOC and Puentevella asking for the remaining funds to be settled. But as of 2011, this had not happened.

Investigators from the Office of the Ombudsman also found that the money had been deposited in the former lawmaker’s personal account, giving him “absolute custody and control of and responsibility for the funds.”