Ex-lawmaker Edgar Valdez surrenders over pork scam charges
MANILA, Philippines – Former Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) party-list representative Edgar Valdez surrendered to authorities and was presented to the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan on Wednesday, February 25, over plunder and graft charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.
Valdez surrendered to the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), which presented the former lawmaker to the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division two days after the court issued his arrest warrant.
The court would determine whether he would be detained in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, or the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame.
Valdez faces plunder charges and 7 counts of graft for allegedly stealing up to P95 million ($2.14 million) in public funds through the illegal diversion of his Priority Development Fund (PDAF) to fake non-governmental organizations run by alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
The Sandiganbayan's 5th Division issued his arrest warrant on Monday, February 23.
In its indictment of Valdez, the Ombudsman said the party-list congressman's PDAF went to ghost agricultural livelihood projects with fake recipients.
Valdez, referred to as "Kuryente" (electricity) in the financial records of state witness Benhur Luy, also allegedly fabricated his liquidation documents to show that the ghost projects had been implemented. (READ: PDAF kickbacks: Napoles had favorites)
Valdez is among the second batch of lawmakers charged with varying degrees of graft and corruption under the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
On February 18, former Masbate representative and incumbent Governor Rizalina Seachon-Lanete surrendered to authorities hours after the Sandiganbayan ordered her arrest. (READ: Court orders Masbate gov detention in BJMP facility) – Rappler.com
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