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Ex-solon faces charges

By: Czarina Nicole O. Ong

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has ordered the filing of graft and malversation charges against former Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. before the Sandiganbayan for his alleged involvement in the misuse of P5 million in “pork barrel” funds during his stint as lawmaker in 2008.

Also charged with Tupas, the chief prosecutor during the trial of then Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, were Alan Javellana, Rhodora Mendoza, Romulo Relevo, and Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson of the National Agri-Business Corp., and Marilou Antonio, project coordinator of the Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation Inc.

On May 15, 2008, Tupas wrote a letter to the Department of Agriculture requesting the transfer of P5 million to the Nabcor for the purchase of hand tractors, water pumps, and grafted fruit seedlings from KKAMFI, which is covered by his PDAF, for Ajuy, Batad, Estancia, Lemery, San Rafael, and Sara in Iloilo.