MANILA, Philippines – The graft court on Thursday, March 6, set aside government prosecutors’ recommendation to deny former Cebu congresswoman Clavel Martinez and her children bail in relation to the pork barrel cases they are facing.
The Sandiganbayan’s 5th division allowed Martinez and her children – former Bogo City Mayor Celestino Martinez III and Maria Cielo Martinez – to post bail bonds of P40,000 each.
The Ombudsman filed against them on December 18, 2012, graft and malversation charges for the alleged fraudulent disbursement of P10 million from her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in 2002.
State auditors and Ombudsman investigators found that Martinez set aside P11.5 million of her pork barrel as assistance to the anti-drug campaign of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP) Cebu Council.
The check, however, was not directly issued to GSP Cebu. Instead, funds were releaed to the municipal government of Bogo, where the congressman’s son was mayor. It was the local government, which, in turn, issued a Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) check no. 240941 to “GSP-Cebu/treasurer,” reflecting the same amount, on September 22, 2003.
When GSP-Cebu cashier-designate Julieta G. Quiño received the check, she didn’t deposit it to the organization’s account. She requested LBP-Bogo Branch to replace it with a manager’s check for P11.5 million, payable to “GSP-Cebu/Ma. Cielo Martinez.”
The proceeds of the managers check was deposited at the BPI-Cebu Capitol bearing account no. 9063-0451-92 on October 20, 2003. The congresswoman’s daughter, Maria Cielo Martinez, withdrew the entire amount a week later, and deposited P10 million to BPI Account No. 9663-0063-01, which was allegedly opened in the name of the congresswoman.
Charged along with the Martinezes are then Bogo treasurer Rhett E. Minguez, municipal accountant Cresencio P. Verdida, GSP Cebu Council bookkeeper Rhodariza V. Kilantang, and Quiño.
Representative Martinez said the the second BPI account that investigators was attributing to her was a trust fund maintained by GSP Cebu.
She said she submitted to the Ombudsman the official receipts for P4 million and P6 million to prove that no government fund was lost. – Rappler.com
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