LIST: 2019 Senate hopefuls facing cases, complaints, probes
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – There are 62 names on the roster of senatorial candidates for the 2019 elections.
There were a lot of private citizens – businessmen, labor leaders, activists – who filed their certificates of candidacy for senator.
There are also familiar faces that already graced the public spotlight in one way or another in the past.
But perhaps the most “familiar” of them all are those who have been accused of violating certain laws.
The Local Government Code and the Omnibus Election Code state that only those convicted with finality of crimes punishable by at least 12 months of imprisonment are disqualified from holding public office.
Rappler lists the senatorial candidates who are currently facing cases, complaints, or probes, as well as those who have been acquitted or the cases against them dismissed.
ONGOING CASE, COMPLAINT, OR INVESTIGATION
Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada
Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino
Former senator Jinggoy Estrada is facing plunder and graft charges for allegedly misusing P183.793 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). (READ: Pork barrel: A story of corruption)
He was granted bail in 2017 after more than 3 years in detention, after Sandiganbayan Special 5th Division said the evidence, so far, did not point to him as a "main plunderer.”
Juan Ponce Enrile
Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino
Former senator Juan Ponce Enrile is facing plunder and graft charges in relation to the pork barrel corruption scandal too. The 94-year-old politician and former defense minister is accused of pocketing P172 million out of the P345 million PDAF from his office that was diverted to fake non-governmental organizations. (TIMELINE: Enrile and the pork barrel scam)
He was granted bail in 2015 after more than a year under hospital arrest.
His filing of his certificate of candidacy makes him the oldest senatorial hopeful in the current roster. (READ: Enrile, 94: Who knows? I might outlive other senators)
Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr
Former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr is facing 16 counts of graft.
In December 16, Sandiganbayan acquitted him of plunder, saying he is not guilty of earning P224.5 million worth of kickbacks through the pork barrel scam. The anti-graft court, however, ordered the return of P124.5 million to the Philippine treasury.
Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos
The House committee on good government and public accountability also recommended the filing of administrative and criminal charges against officials for purchasing vehicles amounting to P64.45 million without public bidding.
Although the committee did not list the officials to be charged, they said in a later statement that it was Marcos who requested the purchase of the vehicles.
Former Philippine National Police chief and recently-resigned BuCor chief Ronald dela Rosa is one of the respondents in a complaint filed by Edgar Matobato before the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to killings allegedly carried out by the Davao Death Squad (DDS).
Dela Rosa was Davao City police chief during the time of Rodrigo Duterte was mayor.
In August 2017, then-ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales confirmed that a preliminary investigation was ongoing.
The Office of the Ombudsman had also investigated the possible liability of Dela Rosa for accepting an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas from Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Dela Rosa is also named in the communications filed by several groups before the International Criminal Court in relation to the violent war on drugs by President Duterte.
Kilusang Bagong Lipunan
Lawyer Larry Gadon is facing at least two disbarment cases over his offensive actions and remarks deemed by many groups as not befitting a lawyer.
In 2016, lawyers Algamar Latiph and Musa Malayang filed a complaint agains Gadon for improper conduct after he made an anti-Muslim remark on national television.
In 2017, another group of lawyers filed a disbarment case against Gadon for “gross misconduct, gross immoral conduct, and violations of the lawyer’s oath.” The lawyers cited an incident where he cursed and flashed the middle finger at supporters of then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in Baguio City.
DISMISSED CASES OR ACQUITTED
Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito
Nationalist People's Coalition
The case alleged that P2.1 million in calamity funds were unlawfully diverted for purchase of high-powered firearms for the local police in 2008. The graft court’s 5th decision, in its resolution, said the prosecution’s evidence failed to overcome the presumption of innocence.
The Commission on Elections, in 2014, also sued Ejercito for supposedly overspending in his San Juan congressional campaign in 2010, but no judgement has been rendered yet.
Ejercito is a reelectionist, but will be using "Ejercito Estrada JV" as his official name in the 2019 ballots, to take advantage of the popularity of the surname of his father, former president Joseph Estrada.
The Office of the Ombudsman in 2010 cleared then-Las Piñas representative Cynthia Villar, together with her husband, then-senator Manny Villar, of plunder complaints in relation to an alleged fraudulent deal with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in 1998.
Nationalist People's Coalition
The Sandiganbayan in 2016 dismissed a graft case filed against former senator Lito Lapid in relation to the fertilizer scam. The case, filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2015, alleged the purchase of overpriced fertilizer when Lapid was still governor of Pampanga in 2004.
The anti-graft court dismissed the case for the “inordinate delay” in the investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Office of the Ombudsman in June 2018 cleared former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II in the plunder complaint related to allegedly anomalous Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3) contracts.
The complaint was filed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) under the Duterte administration.
Labor groups in 2015 filed a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman against then-Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairperson Francis Tolentino for sponsoring a controversial dance performance at a lawmaker's birthday party.
The complainants accused Tolentino of violating Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta for Women.
The controversy led to Tolentino, then seeking to run as senator, asking to be excluded from the Liberal Party (LP) slate for the 2016 elections.
Philippine Green Republican Party
Manuel Montarde faced a complaint filed by the Comelec for overspending during the 2013 elections, when he ran for Catanduanes governor but lost.
Labor Party Philippines
Former policeman and Pagsanjuan, Laguna, mayor Abner Afuang faced a complaint filed by the Senate in 2009 for allegedly violating Article 144 of the Revised Penal Code or disturbance of proceedings. He had poured water over Hayden Kho during the hearing on the latter's leaked sex videos. – Rappler.com
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