I’ll just tell the truth – Cuenco
Former congressman to tell all on Guadalupe seedling anomaly if called by court to testify
Former Cebu City Rep. Antonio Cuenco said he’s making himself available in case he is called by the court to shed light on the anomalous purchase of seedlings worth P6.5 million taken from his pork barrel funds.
“I’ll just have to tell the truth. The Ombudsman has spoken. Let the case proceed to find out if there is really proof beyond reasonable doubt against the respondents,” he said in a phone interview yesterday.
The anti-graft office recommended the filing of charges in court against former Guadalupe barangay captain Eugenio Faelnar and six other persons in relation to the procurement of seedlings without any competitive bidding. To be charged in court with Faelnar are former barangay councilmen Alex Semilla, Rodrigo Gabutan, Robert Gabutan, and David Suzara, former Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman Jacqueline Imboy, and former acting barangay captain Ruben Baculi.
They will be facing trial for violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Cuenco said he was surprised when he was informed about the misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund back in 2006. “Someone told me that it was overpriced. I was also in a quandary as to why the seedlings were distributed to north district barangays when those seedlings were supposedly intended for the south district barangays only,” he said.
Cuenco said he requested the Department of Agriculture to conduct an investigation as to how his livelihood project was implemented.
Cuenco coursed his pork barrel funds from the Department of Budget and Management to the DA. Faelnar, former president of the Association of Barangay Cuncil (ABC) in Cebu City, got over P6 million and disbursed it to WM Sprouts Center for the purchase of seedlings.
The Comission on Audit eventually found irregularities in the transaction. “I don’t know who pocketed the money. It’s up to the Ombudsman to find out who,” Cuenco said. Aside from the respondents, he said the suppliers should also be indicted for a possible conspiracy. “I’m not taking sides here. I won’t judge anyone. I’m in the side of justice. Let the truth come out so those with direct participation will be punished accordingly,” Cuenco said.
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