Lead fertilizer scam prober is new deputy Ombudsman
MANILA, Philippines – The former Assistant Ombudsman, who led the investigation into the P728-million fertilizer fund scam committed during the Arroyo administration, is now the overall deputy in the graft body.
Melchor Arthur Carandang is replacing Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro, who retired in August.
Malacañang announced Carandang's appointment on Tuesday, October 22.
Aquino chose Carandang over Roque Damina Dator and Ferdinand Rafanan, who were also shortlisted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
Carandang received 5 votes from the JBC, while Dator and Rafanan received 4 votes each. Dator is also with the Office of the Ombudsman, while Rafanan is with the Commission on Elections.
Carandang served as Assistant Ombdusman when Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo was at the helm.
The fertilizer fund of the agriculture department was discovered to have been diverted by congressmen and mayors to fund the presidential campaign of Arroyo in 2004.
Carandang and his task force recommended charges against Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante and other officials for the acquisition of overpriced liquid fertilizers.
Carandang left his post when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's former chief legal counsel Merceditas Gutierrez took over as Ombudsman in 2007. He returned to the Office of the Ombudsman as a legal consultant in 2011. – Rappler.com