2nd arrest order issued vs Sajid Ampatuan

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED)  – The 5th division of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan on Wednesday, May 17, issued a warrant of arrest against former Maguindanao governor Sajid Ampatuan for 16 counts of corruption, a day after an arrest warrant was out for another 145 counts.

His bail is now set at P4 million for the two batches of charges. 

A third batch of corruption charges is pending with the Sandiganbayan's 5th division, which has yet to rule on whether or not there is probable cause to issue his arrest.

On Tuesday, May 16, when the first arrest warrant was issued, Ampatuan's lawyer Gregorio Marquez said in a text message sent to reporters, "We will post bail the soonest.”

Sajid's charges stem from school building repairs in Maguindanao from July to September 2009, which, according to investigation by the Ombudsman, were all fake. State investigators also found that the contractors who supposedly supplied lumber to these repair projects were fictitious. The fake suppliers were paid a total of P72.256 million.

Sajid was charged with 12 counts of graft, 8 counts of falsification of documents, 4 counts of malversation, and 137 counts of falsification of documents.

Also ordered arrested were Sajid's former provincial officials:  

Guinaid died July last year after gunmen aboard a tricycle fired at their Toyota Hi Lux van while traveling from Shariff Aguak to Cotabato City.

Sajid's charges before the 5th Division also include 8 counts of graft for his older brother Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr.

State investigators found that apart from the school repairs, Sajid also implemented road projects but that not a single one was undertaken. So the P22 million Sajid paid his older brother Andal Jr for fuel supply to the road constructions was for nothing.

Andal Jr owned the Petron branch that supplied the fuel to the supposed projects. 

The 5th Division issued the arrest warrant against Andal Jr on Wednesday but is considered moot because he is already in jail for the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre.

Out on bail for massacre

Sajid Ampatuan was imprisoned for 5 years for being one of the principal suspects in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre which killed 58 people, including 32 journalists.

It is the worst case of election-related violence in recent history. 

In March 2015, Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 granted Ampatuan's motion for bail and allowed him temporary freedom after paying P11.6 million. (READ: Grand welcome for Ampatuan son out on bail)

Since then, Ampatuan was able to run – but lost – for mayor of Shariff Aguak. He now has to face multiple corruption charges, which stand at 197 counts so far.

Asked for Ampatuan's sentiments having to face corruption charges on top of the massacre charges, Marquez said: "It was a political persecution for the Ampatuan family who were the strongest allies in Mindanao of (former president) Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Look, all the Ampatuans were herded by De Lima in the murder case, now look who is in jail. They got their own dose of medicine. Anyway, we can refute the charges and prove their innocence."

Sajid's third batch of charges are 36 counts of corruption for P16 million worth of allegedly fake food purchases which occurred at the same time as the allegedly fake construction and repair projects. Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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