Former Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) acting chairman Prospero Pichay Jr. and three others - former LWUA deputy acting administrator Wilfredo Feleo, former senior deputy administrator Emmanuel Malicdem and former administrator Daniel Landingin - have been charged with graft by the Office of the Ombudsman. They allegedly used government funds amounting to P1.5 million for a chess tournament.
The National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) wrote a letter to the WUA requesting for sponsorship for the 2 Chairman Prospero Pichay Jr. Cup Chess Championship. Pichay is the NCFP.
The probe uncovered documents proving that Pichay approved, facilitated and released funds for the sponsorship of the tournament.
The Ombudsman stated that the amount of money used was “excessive” and “dubious”. She pointed out that “holding or sponsoring sporting events like chess tournaments is not among LWUA's primary purposes.”
Carpio also believes Pichay has violated the Code of Conduct because his “financial and material interest in the NCFP's sponsorship request is undeniable" and "the sponsorship sought by the chess organization was intended for a tournament named in Pichay's honor."
This is not the first time Pichay has been placed under scrutiny.
Last year on April 17, the Office of the Ombudsman announced that they had accumulated enough evidence to criminally charge Pichay and 6 other LWUA officials in court for 3 counts of graft, 3 counts of malversation, and violation of the General Banking Law and the Manual for Regulation of Banks. Over P80 million in government funds that was supposed to be funneled towards local water services was lost to an “unlawful” bank acquisition.
His brother seems to have his own fair share of run-ins with the government as well. Just last February the Supreme Court ordered the immediate removal of Philip Pichay from his position as Surigao del Sur Congressman – a position Prospero formerly held himself. The Court issued an advisory stating that he was “ineligible to hold and serve the office of Member of the House of Representatives for the First Legislative District of Surigao del Sur” due to “false material representation as to his eligibility when he filed his Certificate of Candidacy” for the previous elections.