The Sandiganbayan yesterday sentenced Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr. to 10 years in prison for his involvement in a P2.5-million transaction made 21 years ago.
Aside from imprisonment, the anti-graft court disqualified Umali from holding public office and forfeited his retirement benefits.
Records showed that the transaction was made when Umali was provincial administrator.
Umali, along with former governor Rodolfo Valencia and former provincial board member Romualdo Bawasanta, were ordered to reimburse the provincial government P2.5 million.
The charges against the respondents stemmed from a loan with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), made under the name of the provincial government.
The Sandiganbayan said the respondents violated the Local Government Code when they used the money to repair, operate and maintain a boat owned by a private individual.
Valencia said they would appeal the decision.
He said that in 1993, the province was placed under a state of calamity after a series of typhoons left 149 people dead.
“Because of the gravity and urgency of the situation, the provincial government applied for a loan with the LBP,” Valencia said.
He said the money was used to repair the ship in order to reach and help people in isolated areas.
Valencia said their political rivals criticized their action and charged them in court.
The decision was handed down by a Sandigan division previously chaired by dismissed Associate Justice Gregory Ong, who along with Associate Justices Oscar Herrera and Christina Cornejo, tried the case for 20 years.
Rico Paolo Quicho, Vice President Binay’s new spokesman for political concerns, said yesterday Trillanes is again maliciously attempting to sow intrigue and sully the Vice President’s name in attacking the Home Development Mutual Fund.
Trillanes tries to influence public perception through his reckless and unfounded statements but would necessarily fail “because he has no credible proof to offer,” he said.
Quicho said Pag-Ibig has shown a good track record and performance under the leadership of the Vice President and its president Darlene Berberabe.
“Innuendos and surmises cannot be the substitute of the truth,” he said.
“It is obvious that these are being done not in aid of legislation but in aid of election,” she said.
Vice President Binay is concurrent chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
Binay said that her father was very careful in handling transactions within the Pag-Ibig Fund in light of past anomalies like the one involving Globe Asiatique.
Her father scrutinized all projects of Pag-Ibig, she added.
The latest allegations of Trillanes did not surprise her because of what she and her family had to go through last year with the Blue Ribbon subcommittee, Binay said.
Relatives of several barangay officials here submitted affidavits supporting the graft charges filed against Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan in relation to allegations of "ghost employees" at the City Government.
The four new complainants are Irene David, wife of Barangay Lourdes Northwest councilman William David; Joan Lozano, sister of Barangay Cutcut councilman Roy Ogurida; Marlene Coronel, wife of Barangay Salapungan councilman Renato Coronel, and Roberto Miranda, friend of Barangay Santo Domingo councilman Oliver Chaneco.
David, Lozano, Coronel, and Miranda were reportedly listed as
administrative assistants under the Philhealth Program of the Office of the Mayor and are supposedly receiving a salary of P500 daily.
But the four denied receiving the amount saying they have no knowledge about their inclusion in the City Government’s job order employees.
Barangay Margot council member Nenita Ferrer also signed a sworn statement to be included in the graft complaint.
Ferrer is reportedly listed in the job order appointments by the City Government as one of the Researchers in the Cultural Mapping Program for the period of July 1 to July 31, 2012 where she supposedly received P600 per day as salary.
Ferrer said she participated in the said program voluntarily and she only received an allowance of P400 for the entire duration of the program.
On October 19, 2012, Sanchez filed graft and corruption charges against Pamintuan, City Accountant Wilfredo Tiotuico, City Budget Officer Fe Corpuz, City Treasurer Juliet Quinsaat, and other department heads before the Office of the Ombudsman regarding the 2,506 job order appointments of the City Government under the Pamintuan administration.
The City Government is allegedly spending P240 million a year for the controversial 2,506 job order employees.
Pamintuan and company are being charged with Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, Grave Misconduct, Violation of Section 3(e) and 3(g) of Republic Act 3019, otherwise known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Violation of Article 217 (Malversation of public funds or property; Presumption of malversation) of the Revised Penal Code.
On December 5, 2012, Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Adoracion Agbada ordered Pamintuan and the company to submit their Counter-Affidavit within a period of 10 days after the receipt of the letter.
Pampanga first district Representative Carmelo Lazatin Sr. vowed to end corruption in the City Government and bring back the glory of Angeles City when he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) last Friday.
Lazatin led his line-up, consisting of four candidates for councilor - Councilor Brian Nepomuceno, Carmelo Lazatin Jr., veteran newsman Maximo Sangil, and Lawyer Nino Enriquez.
The Lazatins, Sangil, and Enriquez will run in next year’s polls under the Lakas-CMD party while Nepomuceno will retain his original party, the Nationalists People’s Coalition.
Lazatin considered the filing of COC a historic event since he was joined by Nepomuceno, and parents Cutcut village chief Cecil Nepomuceno and former Pampanga vice governor and city councilor Robin Nepomuceno.
Robin Nepomuceno fought Lazatin in the 2001 and 2004 mayoralty elections.
The political stalwarts, the Lazatins and the Nepomucenos, have been rivals since the early 1930s.
Supporters of Team Lazatin gathered at the lawmaker’s office in Barangay Telabastagan and trooped to the Comelec office in Pulung Maragul last Friday prior to the filing of the COCs.
“Kailangan matigil na ang pangingikil at panggigipit ng administrasyong Pamintuan sa mga negosyante,” Lazatin said.
He said the team’s priority is to be transparent on all transactions, especially in procurements, biddings, and other projects.
“Kailangan masigurado natin na maging positibo ang cash availability ng siyudad. Hindi kamukha ngayon na as of September 11, 2012 ay negative P11 million ang cash flow ng city government,” Lazatin said.
He added that his administration will be business-friendly and will not impose any increase in real property and other business taxes for the next three years.
The congressman also said he will focus on creating more jobs and livelihood opportunities to Angeleños. He also pledged to implement a more comprehensive solid waste management and health programs.
Lazatin also pledged to improve the education system in the city by providing access to free college education, scholarship to deserving student, more teachers, and classrooms, books, and other needs.
Infrastructure projects will also be implemented in order to attract more business opportunities and investors, according to Lazatin.
He also mentioned his brainchild, the Local Urban Poor and Housing Affairs Office (Lupaho).
Lazatin also vowed to strengthen the capability of the city police in order to respond more quickly to crimes and other threats.
“Everyday is a People’s Day as services to every Angeleño will be available daily,” Lazatin said.
Puno has said he can work with Roxas, but can Mar work with Rico? Guess who may be behind the sordid tales being peddled against Puno?
Roxas’ first DILG announcement was that he considered all posts in the DILG as vacant. Really? Weren’t those manning these posts appointed by the President? Is an incoming DILG Secretary allowed to regard all posts previously appointed by the President vacant? Isn’t there any tenure in the civil service?
While Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno is definitely a colorful character in the otherwise staid and conservative cabinet of PNoy, the conspiracy theories being floated against Puno are just too outlandish to be taken at face value. This is especially so, because it is a media conglomerate identified with newly appointed DILG Secretary Mar Roxas that broke the incredible story of a “break-in” allegedly engineered by Usec Rico.
Apparently, according to the scuttlebutt, Usec Rico, accompanied by officials and personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were poised to “ransack” the offices of the late Jesse Robredo two days after the latter’s plane crashed.
Earlier, Roxas himself set the rumor mill spinning when he “revealed” that the late DILG Secretary was secretly investigating Puno before Robredo’s plane crashed. The rumor mill then wondered whether Puno himself may have had something to do with the crash.
Putting one and one together, the insinuation is that Puno wanted Robredo out so that Usec Rico could take his place. Not only that but that Usec Rico also wanted to find the documents in Robredo’s offices and condominium unit that allegedly incriminated Usec Rico Puno.
One wonders if Usec Rico was amongst those identified by Sec Mar’s one and only, as among the “mga maliliit at maiitim na maligno” who wished the worst on Jesse Robredo.
Are we living a Robert Ludlum or Ian Fleming book or watching a Jason Bourne of James Bond movie in full color?
As undersecretary of the DILG, wasn’t Puno duty bound to secure the sensitive papers of the department after the crash? Wouldn’t he have been derelict in his duties had he not done so? What if anything went missing? Wouldn’t Puno then be damned for not securing these?
If the intention were to “ransack” as insinuated by the TV station which employs Roxas’ wife Korina Sanchez, why would Usec Puno bring along officials and personnel of the Philippine National Police? Why would the policemen even contact the lawyer of Robredo in the course of securing Jesse’s papers?
In fact, as reported by other media, Puno, Usec. Austere Panadero and PNP chief Nicanor Bartolome “agreed to secure the offices of Robredo” on the personal order of President Noynoy Aquino.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also denied knowing of any attempt by Puno and his group to engineer an illegal “break-in” of the offices of Robredo at the DILG and the National Police Commission and his condo unit.
De Lima, who secured Robredo’s papers, was reported to have said that everything was in order before turning over the documents to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa who took over Robredo’s post in an acting capacity.
Can we blame the hapless Puno for the crash? Hardly.
Robredo had earlier booked a commercial flight for Manila. Robredo made a spur-of-the-moment decision to charter the ill-fated plane to fly direct to Naga City from Cebu. How does one plan a plane sabotage on such short notice?