Friday, June 14, 2024

Four TRC execs received kickbacks in pork barrel scam

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) indicted on Monday, Sept. 16, the chief of the Technology Resource Center (TRC) and his predecessor, as well as two other employees of the agency, accusing of them of taking kickbacks for projects coursed through the TRC using the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of legislators.

Ortiz

The TRC, which was formerly known as the Technology Livelihood and Resource Center or TLRC, is a government corporation attached to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The NBI recommended that former TRC director-general Antonio Ortiz and his deputy then (now TRC chief) Dennis Cunanan be charged for ?plunder or malversation, bribery and graft and corruption? for conniving with alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

The NBI also asked the Office of the Ombudsman to slap the same offense against TRC employees Francisco Figura and Marivic Jover.

The NBI said the officials of the TRC took about 10 percent of the total project cost from Napoles after being used as conduits in a massive scheme intended to raid the public coffers. The lawmakers, on the other hand, got 40 to 50 percent in kickbacks, according to the NBI.

The indictment was based on an exhaustive report prepared by the NBI on the pork barrel scam. Earlier, PDAF scam whistleblower Benhur Luy identified Ortiz and Cunanan as the contact persons of Napoles at the TRC.

Cunanan

While Cunanan has already filed an indefinite leave of absence from his office, his main co-accused Ortiz has reportedly left the country already. Ortiz did not show up in a Senate hearing last week even if he was summoned to attend.

It was during the tenure of Ortiz that the alleged scam was carried out by Napoles as shown in the report by the Commission on Audit that covered the years 2007 to 2009. Ortiz served as TRC director-general from 2005 to 2010.

The NBI report did not indicate the exact amount that Ortiz and his cohorts received in kickbacks. It named, however, Sen. Ramon ?Bong? Revilla as having received the highest grease money with P224 million, followed by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada with P183 million, and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile with P172 million.

The crime of plunder is committed if a person has defrauded the government of at least P50 million.

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