Hold order vs Syjuco, ex-DA chief lifted

(Photo from Boboy Syjuco Twitter)

By: Gerome Dalipe

THE Sandiganbayan has lifted the hold departure order (HDO) issued for former Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr. and the regional agriculture chief after they pleaded guilty to misusing his P4.3 million Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) in 2000.

The anti-graft court’s First Division lifted the hold order for Syjuco and Eduardo Lecciones Jr., the former Department of Agriculture (DA-6) director, after the court granted their plea bargaining agreement.

Likewise, the Sandiganbayan ordered the release of the travel bond that the respondents paid while the cases were on-going.

The anti-graft court granted the officials’ plea bargain after they fully settled the amount released to Syjuco’s supposed bogus foundation, the Tagipusuon Foundation, Inc.,

Syjuco and Lecciones earlier pleaded guilty to lesser offenses of fraud against public treasury and failure of an accountable officer to render an account.

Thus, the Sandiganbayan reduced the malversation and graft charges hurled against them.

The Office of the Ombudsman indicted Syjuco for malversation and violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices for cornering a P4.3-million government contract using his own non-governmental organization (NGO) — Tagipusuon Foundation, Incorporated.

Also charged with similar offenses were Lecciones; Mylene Villanueva of Tagipusuon; and Antonio Rojas, president of Ilonggo Chickboy Corporation.

The actions displayed by the respondents showed “torrid signs of a criminal activity contrived clandestinely,” said former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

Morales said Syjuco used Tagipusuon and Ilonggo Chickboy Corporation in “bilking out public money from the treasury.”

Result of the investigation by the anti-graft office revealed that Syjuco used the NGO as a conduit to corner P4.3 million in government funds to finance Chickboy’s poultry business.

The DA-6 released the P4.3-million as financial assistance to Tagipusuon for its district-wide poultry breeding and production project.

A memorandum of agreement was later signed between Chickboy Corporation and the NGO for the supply of Kabir chicks.

After pleading guilty, the Sandiganbayan ordered Syjuco and Lecciones to pay P10,000 for committing frauds against the public treasury, P1,000 for violating the Government Auditing Code, and P6,000 for failing as accountable officers to render account under the Revised Penal Code.