Ombudsman expands probe on ‘Euro-generals’ case
Sandiganbayan hearings on 'Euro-Generals' case suspended, additional indictments expected

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan on Tuesday, February 28, granted a motion by government prosecutors to suspend hearings on the so-called “Euro-generals” case pending a wider investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman on the possible involvement of more PNP officials in the 2008 controversy.

The prosecution filed the motion on January 3, 2012 citing a further preliminary investigation ordered by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to determine if other police officials should be held liable.

Two cases are currently pending before the graft court’s Fifth Division. In both cases, the only ones indicted are former Philippine National Police (PNP) Comptroller Eliseo D. dela Paz and his wife, Maria Fe C. dela Paz.

Dela Paz and his wife were charged with violation of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Circular No. 507 in relation to the New Central Bank Act (RA 7653) for transporting foreign currency in excess of $10,000 out of the country.

Dela Paz is also facing a second case for unlawful exercise of duties as Special Disbursing Officer beyond the mandatory retirement age of 56. This was because he still joined the PNP delegation to the 77th Interpol General Assembly at the St. Petersburg, Russian Federation on October 7 to 11, 2008 even though he was supposed to reach the compulsory retirement age of 56 on October 9 of that year.

After attending the Interpol assembly, Dela Paz and his wife were apprehended by Russian authorities at the Shremetyevo International Airport in Moscow on October 11, 2008 after they were found to be carrying undeclared cash amounting to €105,000 (euros).

The incident prompted a congressional investigation on the issue, which later resulted in the filing of the case at the Sandiganbayan.

More names

In granting the prosecution ‘s motion, the court noted during a January 13, 2012 hearing that the defense was given a chance to file its comment on the pleading but failed to do so.

“The records show that up to the present, no comment was filed by the accused. There being no objection on the part of the defense, and for reason stated therein, the Motion is hereby granted. As prayed for, the proceedings in these cases is hereby suspended pending outcome of the further preliminary investigation being conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman,” the court said.

The graft court also cancelled the scheduled arraignment of the Dela Paz couple on March 1, 2012.

Based on the resolution approved by Ombudsman Morales, additional indictments for graft and malversation could implicate other PNP officials “for approving, receiving, and/or using or allowing the use of the amount of P7 million from PNP confidential/intelligence fund as contingency fund for the foreign travel”.

Among the names mentioned in the resolution were:

  • retired Director General Avelino Razon Jr.; 
  • Deputy Director General Emmanuel Carta;
  • Deputy Director General Ismael Rafanan;
  • retired Director Romeo Ricardo;
  • retired Director Jaime Caringal; 
  • Director for Human Resources and Doctrine Development German Doria; 
  • Director for Operations Silverio Alarcio Jr.; 
  • Chief Superintendent Samuel Rodriguez; 
  • Chief Superintendent Orlando Pestano;
  • Senior Superintendent Tomas Rentoy III; and
  • Superintendent Elmer Pelobello.

Also being looked into is the alleged involvement of former interior secretary Ronaldo Puno who approved dela Paz’s inclusion in the Moscow trip even when the latter was due to retire. –

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