Former Sulu Governor and now the provincial Vice Governor Benjamin Loong.
MANILA, Philippines — Acting Ombudsman Orlando C. Casimiro filed Thursday criminal charges against former Sulu Governor Benjamin Loong in connection with alleged anomalous livelihood and infrastructure projects in 2007.
In a 25-page resolution submitted before the Sandiganbayan, the former provincial executive was charged with graft and corruption.
Also charged with Loong was Kanoh Hajib, Chairman of the Bawisan Multi-Purpose Cooperative.
The charge sheet showed that the provincial government entered into an agreement with the local office of the Department of Agriculture in 2006 for the construction of an ice plant with cold storage and a cassava production and post harvest facilitties costing more than P12 million.
Under the accord, the ice plant and the cassava production facility were to be managed by the the multi-purpose cooperative which was no longer operating.
The operations was taken over by BJ Coco Oil Mill owned by Loong. The ice plant and cassava production facilities were also constructed inside the BJ Coco Oil Mill.
The OMB resolution declared that “it is clearly made known that Benjamin Loong, through evident bad faith, caused undue injury to the Provincial Government of Sulu when he conferred to BJ Coco Oil Mill, Inc. the management of the two facilities."
In a sworn statement, Sulu Provincial Treasurer Jesus Cabelin, said that Loong “had ordered and instructed him on different occasions to cause the disbursement of cash advance of funds intended for the ice plant with cold storage and the cassava production facility and of funds for the construction in Maimbung, Sulu of several cold storage facilities.”
Investigation showed that there was no cash advances turned over to the Muncipality of Maimbung.
It was also alleged that several road-concrete paving projects in Sulu were funded by the Department of Public Works and Highways without the conduct of public bidding. (Jun Ramirez - Manila Bulletin)