Dismissed Cotabato vice governor Gregorio Ipong will face trial for graft and malversation over his alleged misuse of P4.9 million worth of his pork barrel when he was still a legislator of his province.
The Sandiganbayan Third Division cleared a path for his trial after turning down his motion for judicial determination of probable cause which sought the dismissal of the charges.
“Clearly, with the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of the accused-movant Ipong on June 6, 2017, this court had already determined, as mandated, the existence of probable cause,” read the resolution of the court.
“Hence, the principal prayer for a judicial determination of probable cause becomes as superfluity,” it ruled.
Records showed Ipong released funds from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) when he was a legislator in 2007 for the implementation of livelihood projects and endorsed Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (AFPI) as non-government organization (NGO) partner.
However, the Ombudsman uncovered from its investigation AFPI was chosen without public bidding and that the NGO had no financial capacity.
Also, the Ombudsman also found the projects were non-existent.