Top officials of Isabela reject new probe of Padaca’s loan dealPhilippine Daily Inquirer
ILAGAN, Isabela—Provincial officials have objected to a proposed inquiry into a P25-million loan facility for which former Gov. Grace Cielo Padaca now faces graft charges.
“Any form of investigation on the P25-million graft case would be tantamount to sub judice,” said Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III, who reacted to a request from former Vice Gov. Santiago Respicio for the provincial board to inquire into the charges.
It was Respicio’s complaint in 2006 that led to the filing of graft charges at the antigraft court Sandiganbayan against Padaca and four officers of a nongovernment organization.
Padaca, who lost to Dy III in the 2010 elections, was accused of allowing the Economic Development for Western Isabela and Northern Luzon Foundation Inc. (EDWINLFI), a nongovernment organization, to administer a P25-million loan program meant for local hybrid rice modernization without undergoing public bidding.
“An inquiry as to the status of the payment of the loan is even more appropriate than an investigation into the case,” Dy III said.
Provincial records show that only P7 million out of the P25 million had been remitted by rice farmers who took out loans from the program.
Vice Gov. Rodolfo Albano III and lawyer Francisco Ignacio Ramirez III, provincial legal officer, said in separate interviews that they agreed with the governor’s position not to endorse Respicio’s request.
“While I am sitting as the vice governor, I will not allow such investigation because of its legal implications. The case is still under consideration of the court,” Albano said. Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon