MANILA, Philippines – Former Isabela Gov Ma. Gracia Cielo M. Padaca is facing arrest in connection with pending charges of graft and malversation of public funds filed by the Office of the Ombudsman with the Sandiganbayan.
Associate Justice Roland B. Jurado, chairman of the court’s fifth division, signed the warrant late Monday, May 21, and set her bail bond at P40,000 for malversation and P30,000 for the graft case.
Copies of the arrest order will be given to the National Bureau of Investigation-Region 2 Office, the Isabela provincial police commander and the Ilagan, Isabela police chief.
Padaca had sought deferment of the issuance of the warrant as she challenged the basis for the indictments, but this was opposed by prosecutors Omar Sagadal and Beda A. Epres.
Padaca was accused of giving undue advantage to the Economic Development for Western Isabela and Northern Luzon Foundation Inc. (EDWINLFI), a non-government organization tapped to manage a credit facility for Isabela’s rice farmers under a hybrid seed distribution program.
The NGO was entrusted the sum of P25-M which was part of a loan drawn by the provincial government from the Development Bank of the Philippines. This was by virtue of a memorandum of agreement signed in January 2006.
Prosecutors questioned the failure of defendants to conduct a public bidding when the transaction was in the nature of a management or consultancy a contract. They noted the absence of any provision for safeguards on the amount entrusted to the NGO.
In a report issued by the Commission on Audit, government auditors said EDWINLFI failed to liquidate P3.6-M under “due from NGOs/POs” and another P18-M under “loans receivables.” – Rappler.com