CA denies ex-Cotabato lawmaker Ipong’s appeal on dismissal over P5M pork scam
The Court of Appeals (CA) has denied the appeal of former Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Gregorio Ipong on his dismissal from public office in connection with the misuse of his P5-million pork barrel funds in 2007.
In a recent 2-page resolution, the CA Former Special 9th Division sustained its November 23, 2018 decision to uphold the Ombudsman’s September 2016 ruling against Ipong.
The Ombudsman and the CA agreed that Ipong was guilty of the administrative offenses of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
The CA said Ipong merely raised the same issues and arguments already addressed and resolved in its earlier decision.
“There being no new matters raised that would warrant a reversal or modification of the said Decision, the said motion is hereby denied for lack of merit,” read the resolution penned by Associate Justice Ramon Cruz.
The case concerned the diversion of Ipong’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations to the fictitious livelihood projects of Aaron Foundation Philippines, Inc. (AFPI).
Ipong was found to have endorsed AFPI as the partner non-government organization (NGO) for his PDAF projects implemented through the now-defunct Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC).
AFPI also turned out to be a dubious NGO as its office address was located in a vacant lot, and it failed to submit liquidation documents to the Commission on Audit (COA).
In its earlier decision, the CA also upheld the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction over the case, rejecting Ipong’s contention that he committed the acts when he was still a congressman beyond the anti-corruption office’s disciplinary authority.
It noted that the administrative complaint was filed against Ipong when he was already the vice-governor of Cotabato province, placing him under the Ombudsman’s investigative power.
Ipong was officially unseated when the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) implemented the Ombudsman order in November 2016.
He tried running for his old seat in the House of Representatives during the May 2019 elections, but he placed third in a four-way race.
Ipong also currently faces criminal charges for graft and malversation before the Sandiganbayan.