Lanete, accused of PDAF plunder, seeks bail
MANILA, Philippines – Detained for her plunder indictment over the pork barrel mess, former Masbate Representative Rizalina Seachon-Lanete asked the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to be allowed to post bail for her temporary liberty.
In an application for bail filed Thursday, March 12, Lanete denied charges against her and said she is not a flight risk.
"Her family, which is the source of her strength and support, all reside in the Philippines... She has become readily recognizable, making it impossible for her to depart from any airport or port," her pleading read.
She cited previous attempts to take her and her son's life, which still "have not caused her to flee or go in hiding."
"Just as she had stared death in the face, so will she confront her accusers in court. Just as she has stood up to those who would take away her life, so will she stand up to those who would now take away her liberty," read her bail plea.
No conviction yet
She added that an accused whose case has yet to be resolved is detained simply to ensure he will not run from his charges and not as a form of punishment, since there has yet to be a conviction.
Having no intention to run, Lanete said she "should be admitted to bail." Lanete surrendered to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police on the same day that the anti-graft court issued a warrant for her arrest. It found probable cause to try her for plunder and graft charges based on an Ombudsman complaint.
Held in a police camp, the Masbate chief executive is charged with plunder and 11 counts of graft for misusing P112.29 million of her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel from 2007-2009.
In exchange for kickbacks, Lanete allegedy allowed her PDAF to be unlawfully diverted to ghost projects of foundations controlled by scam mastermind Janet Napoles.
Plunder is typically a non-bailable offense punishable with reclusion perpetua, but bail may be granted if there is no strong evidence of guilt.
Her case is being heard by the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division. – Rappler.com