Ombudsman presses graft raps vs Padaca



Former Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca

The Office of the Ombudsman is pressing for the prosecution of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Ma. Gracia Cielo Padaca for alleged graft and malversation when she was Isabela governor, and is opposing Padaca’s motion invoking her immunity from suit.

In an Oct. 30 motion to dismiss, Padaca claimed that her appointment to the Comelec automatically entitled her to protection under Section 2, Article XI of the Constitution which allows her removal from office only by impeachment, an exclusive power delegated to Congress.

But state prosecutor Omar Sagadal and graft investigation officer Beda Epres said that Padaca’s appointment did not absolve her of criminal liability for offenses she allegedly committed when she was still provincial governor of Isabela in 2006.

“Protection of tenure of office is not a license to commit a crime or a forgiveness for crimes committed before taking office. The prosecution submits that to dismiss or suspend the case would give premium to criminality and undermine the criminal justice system,” they pointed out.


Padaca’s argument of immunity would make appointment to an impeachable post a shield or an amnesty for past crimes, they said.

They also pointed out that Padaca’s appointment to the Comelec has yet to be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments since it was made ad interim (while Congress was in recess).

Therefore, it is premature for Padaca to invoke any form of immunity, “assuming the immunity is proper in the first place,” they said.

The prosecutors also pointed out that Padaca’s appointment will be deemed terminated if not approved before the congressional session is adjourned, they said.

In a previous motion, Padaca asked the anti-graft court’s 5th Division to defer the case until the Supreme Court has rendered a decision on her pending motion for certiorari which challenged the charges filed against her by the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman earlier denied Padaca’s motion for reconsideration and upheld the finding of probable cause to indict her. The Sandiganbayan then issued a warrant for her arrest in May.

On Oct. 4, Padaca surrendered and posted consolidated bail of P30,000 for the graft charge and P40,000 for the malversation charge, thus setting aside the arrest warrant and prompting the anti-graft court to set her arraignment for Oct. 18.

It later came out that the bail money had come from President Aquino himself.

No public bidding

A 2008 Ramon Magsaysay awardee, Padaca was charged with graft for awarding to a nongovernment organization in 2006 a contract to manage a P25-million credit facility for rice farmers without a public bidding.

Named as coaccused were provincial legal officer Johnas Lamonera, former Roxas Vice Mayor Servando Soriano and private respondent Dionisio Pine, manager of the foundation.

In her defense, Padaca said a bidding was not required for the project and that the government did not suffer any damage from the deal.

Padaca said she was not at all bothered by the charges and expressed confidence that she would be vindicated.

In her motion, she said it was well established that the principle of judicial courtesy entails the suspension by a court of proceedings before it “where there is a strong probability that the issues before the higher court would be rendered moot and moribund as a result of the continuation of the proceedings in the lower court of origin.”

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  • wawa2172

    I guess Padaca should face the charges at Sandiganbayan and clear her name. She is expected to be clean as she figure herself in public and must not hide in the boxer short of PNoy. The charges is bailable and her tab on bail was paid for by the President himself showing how favored she is. Now skirting a new tag of invoking immunity as comelec commissioner she is abusing her new found power and it would be frustrating if it has the blessing of the president. As you have claimed that its political harassment then face it and proved otherwise. Just be thankful that the case against you was not plunder as the means used by the current admin to pin down its political enemies. I hope that I won’t be misinterpreted but your appointment as comelec commissioner  must not be a shield for you to evade the charges. Wash your linen while you are still in grace of PNoy and do not wait when his term ends as it could turn to worse.

  • Karabukov

    If these charges are not politically motivated I don’t know what is.

    • Copernicus99

      The Ombudsman, former SC justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, is known to be an upright person and is an Aquino appointee as well. If there is no legal basis for the case against Padaca, Carpio-Morales would have certainly dismissed the case. It is irrelevant at this point whether the charges against Padaca were politically motivated to begin with. Moreover, Padaca is not being denied her day in court, so there is nothing anomalous with her situation.

      • Karabukov

        This is a good case that will test the wisdom of the Ombudsman. The Filipino people should follow this case very closely. Foremost question in their minds would be: Will the law be exercised to oppress those who serve the people or will it be subverted to serve the powers that be?

    • D_BystandeR

      I have been hearing a lot of good feedback about her that’s why she won her seat as Governor the first time she ran for it despite the fact that she was pitted against a politically powerful opponent. But things have turned “sour” on her when her political detractors saw an “opening” in a case where they found their “orchestration” succeeded in putting her down. But President Noynoy, knowing her innocence of the charges filed against her, picked her up and appointed her to become Comelec Commissioner. But her detractors continued to “torment” her without letup. What “puzzled” me is the present behavior of government prosecutors who seemed to “tighten their screwing” of her case despite the fact that GMA is no longer in power. They seemed not to get “the message” that the present administration of President Noynoy is even “staking” his prestige and his acknowledged earnest dedication to his good government through a crusade of “Daang Matuwid” to show his all-out support behind the beleaguered Commissioner Grace Padaca.

      • Karabukov

        Maybe these prosecutors are getting “moral support” from other sources. Such as those who will not gain anything and possibly everything to lose from an incorruptible Comelec commissioner.

    • LucianoChing

      It is politically motivated….to show the voters that the administration is also charging their partymates at this point in time…one more reason for Roxas to say that Gov.Espino is being charge in court,in like manner that Padaca is also facing charges….
      You guys with doctorates and masters are not always as smart as we ordinary guys….a guy with common sense is better than an  educated senseless person.

      • Karabukov

        Your view is cynical, yes, but also naive and simplistic masquerading as smart.

  • Summerspice

    Kaya pala sya na-appoint sa Comelec para may immunity sya.Ombudsman should pursue the case against her.

  • Fulpol

    run to BS Aquino III… come on girl, he will save you, one more time..

  • nice_boy

    Because she is using her appointment as a shield from prosecution, the Commission on Appointments should reject outright her appointment.  She must clear herself first.  That to my mind is daang matuwid.

  • Bugtong Uyamot

    plain arrogance! 

    • Dan


      • Bugtong Uyamot


  • les21reago

    There might be a SENSE of Honesty by PADACA but her IGNORANCE of the LAW in awarding the project without bidding would not pacify her GUILT.

    • joel genese

      Yes. I think so! Its just unfortunate that the honest but ignorant are the one being persecuted and the crooked like the Dys were getting slipped away.

  • Alma Riza Sartillo Luciano

    Why invoke immunity if you are innocent?

  • Kilabot ng mga Balahibo


    I reviewed my Child’s Grade 3 Sibika. Padaca was one of the people written along with Sagid Bulig, Tony Meloto (Gawad Kalinga), Ma Fe Sotelo, and other list of praised filipinos.

    Sad that the ombudsman see it fit to file and pursue charges against her. Even more sad that the president has to bail her out then put her into a position of his administration.

    I dunno if the courts will find her guilty, I believe that truth and justice will overcome. I just don’t like his method of putting people in a position of power when question of integrity has been raised. Not as if there are others that are not equally qualified.

    But then, its his cabinet.  Then again, its my opinion, as well as others who share the same doubt.

  • $23257130

    grave ha corrupt talaga. yuckies kadiri naman.

    kaya pala isinuka ng mga taga isabela. ikulong yan! now na!

    • mave

      kung corrupt yan sana mayaman na yan ngayon…bopols

  • ever green

    Orchestrated effort by the Dys and Albano in isabela to keep her out of the governorship. May balak kasi silang ihati ang isabela sa dalawang probinsya. Norte and Sur. One for the Dys and one for the ALbanos. 
    I do not know if Padaca is guilty or not. Frankly I don’t give a rat’s a$$. But I think Isabela has long been dictated and held by the Dys that again most are running unopposed this coming election. Maraming takot lumaban sa kanila…..

  • Jozz

    If at all that there was graft and malversation of funds, where’s the evidence? Did she get any richer from the allocation of funds? Do state prosecutor Omar Sagadal and graft investigation officer Beda Epres have any records to show? Without evidence, this is nonsense. Usually those who shout graft and corruption without evidence are the ones doing it. It’s high-time Sagadal and Epres also be scrutinized by their superiors.

    • popeyee

      Di naman siguro magpa-file ng graft charges ang mga prosecutors kung narinig lang nila sa mga tambay na nag-corrupt si Padaca…Di naman siguro magiging prosecutor ang mga yan kung tsismis lang ang nalalaman…

  • Pio Gante

    magpa-inject ka kay abnoy baka mabisa ang vaccine niya nang sa ganun lumakas ang immunity mo at di ka tablan basta-basta.

  • LegalJustice

    She need to face the charges and clear her name if she did no do anything wrong period.

    Instead of hiding in the cloak of Immunity when she hasn’t been confirmed yet and why will this President appoint her in the first place when she has a graft rap case to settle.

    This President should have let her clear her name first before he appointed her a post as commissioner in COMELEC.

    And another thing  why will he pay  Ms. Grace Pandaca bail ?

    Does this President knows filipino people might think differently – I don’t know whether this President has a low I.Q. ?

    If you look on the scenario there is a cover up here of the crime – why invoke immunity it means to say she is guilty – she did something wrong or illegal.

    The Big Question : Did the President appointed her in bad faith as commissioner to shield her from prosecution and to invoke immunity. Does this President know that he too can be charged of cover-up which is a crime.

    My advice to President Aquino nobody is above the law – what you are doing is a clear cover-up which is a crime you need to check this with your legal department, Mr. President.

  • Latigo

    Mga kawatan na commssioners ng Comelec lalo na gaya ni Padaca patalsikin now na!

  • Latigo

    gaya yan nina lozada,mang emong Ed at iba pang whisle blowers na kawatan!

    • Karabukov

      Mga whistleblowers, kawatan? Binabaliktad mo yata. You are holding the latigo at the wrong end, my friend.

  • Paliwaweng

    Fact is the money in question have gone and served its purpose. It helped the people and the result had benefited a lot of farmers in that region. 
    The problem is Padaca had miscalculated her political enemies and did not go to standard operating procedure. She overlooked that part, by her overzealousness to do the project.
    The Dy’s pounced on that crack and make a mountain out of a mole.
    It became her dilemma.
    The courts will know and must bank on truths more than the letter of law.

    • boldyak

      ano gusto mo ibasura na lang natin lahat ng law, basehan na lang “GOOD INTENTIONS”?…hahahaha…hoy gising

      • Paliwaweng

        sinong nagsabing “ibasura na lang natin lahat ng law”, may nakita ka ba? At sinong may sabi na basehan ang good intentions? refresh kita, “the courts will know and must banks on TRUTHS more than the letter of law. Basahin mo at subukang unawain. Please be polite brod, rude language will tell who we are. 
        You can disagree and free to say anything you want, but do not always assume that you have more grey matter…maybe.., it is the other way around.

      • Karabukov

        You sound so righteous with your own view. Para kang kontrabida sa pelikula. He he.

    • Summerspice

       She made a mistake!She should face the consequences of her actions!She’s not above the law.

      • Karabukov

        The law is supposed to serve the people, not the other way around.

  • Fred

    Sana sa lahat ng kaso ay ganyan kayo ka aggresive (na may kasama pang press release).

    • etomacq

      Mga taga Ombudsman, wag nyo galitin si Noynoy! kayo rin pag napag initan kayo. Alam nyo naman kung papano gumalaw ang mga galamay ng demolition team ni Master nyo.

    • Jack

      moro-moro lang ito. papogi points lang ito ng sandiganbayan. 

  • Your_King

    With this impending case, she should have never been appointed by Aquino as the Comelec but typical PNoy he still appointed her. On top of that she was allowed to leave the country even with this pending case. Its clear that she or any other members of Aquino’s chosen, aka KKK, are exempt from these issues and are somehow placed above the law. Not right but true.

  • antonioluna

    naks, pag KKK talaga, Alagang alaga.

  • boldyak

    hahaha…immune daw?…wala ka pa sa pwesto may kaso ka na?….KKK talaga…

  • etomacq

    Si GMA na akusado palang pilit ipinakukulong ng admin.. Si Padaca may kaso, pilit na pipnoprotektahan ng admin. Mga Pro-Noy bulag at bingi pag kaalyado na ng sinasamba nila ang akusado! 

    Ang pagtatakip at pagkampi sa mga tiwaling kaalyado ang ugat  talaga ng korapsyon.Noynoy maging patas ka naman. Masyado garapalan na ang ginagawa nyong pagprotekta kay Padaca!Padaca kapal talaga ng mukha. Bakit ayaw mo harapin ng patas ang kaso mo? Guilty ka ba?

    • Paliwaweng

      si GMA akusado pa lang? hahahahaha ohmygulay!! Ano ka ba kabayan, hindi pwedeng pigilin ang isang tao o ilagay sa hospital arrest kung walang kaso. Mag research ka ng konti, napakadali ka ng tulungan ni google ngayon, maging resourceful ka lang ng konte. 

      Inaresto sya noong Oktubre sa kasong plunder, non-bailable offense, a crime that carries a maximum life imprisonment.
      Kinasuhan pa sya ng electoral sabotage dahil sa paglustay ng pera ng PCSO para sa kanyang pamumulitika.

      Hindi pa kasali dito ang mga ibang corruption cases filed.
      1. NBN ZTE Scandal
      2.Millions of bribe money to Congressmen and Governors on October, 2007
      3.Hello Garci (Dinaya ang 2004 election sa tulong ni Commissioner Garci)
      4.Jocjoc Bolante Fertilizer Scam worth P728 million.
      5. Jose Pidal Account (unexplained wealth worth P200 million.
      6.Overpricing of P532 million on the billion peso project, Macapagal boulevard.
      7.General Garcia plunder case.
      8. Juetengate
      9. Northrail project.
      10. NAIA 3
      at marami pang iba..

      • etomacq

        Puro mga tsismis lang ang pinost brod… I-google mo kung meron nang kaso si GMA sa korte na GUILTY sya. Ang alam ko 3 kaso na nya ang naabswelto sya, kasi nga puro tsismis lang ang ebidensya, halatang demolition job lang talaga.

        Puro fairy tale ang mga pi-nost mo brod. LOL! 

  • sidewalkbenhur

    laging talo ang malinis ang konsiensiya sa atin

    • Karabukov

      Do not be a defeatist.

      Have faith that there is enough good men for evil not to triumph.

      Support Padaca!

  • disqusted0fu

    obviously Padaca doesnt know what she is talking about… but Aquino has her back as being part of the kkk, she is immune from any criminal offense. she is free to do whatever she wants… at least until the end of the term of Aquino that is.

  • Summerspice

    Where is your “matuwid na daan” Pnoy?You know that Padaca has a case and yet you still appointed her to a position that gives her immunity.This is ridiculous!!!!!!

  • Paliwaweng

    Her fault was “without public bidding” though it was a considered a crime, she did not stole money . The documents were available where the money have gone. Powerful political clans in Isabela wants her out. They will do everything and use their gold and goons to get back what was once their ‘goldmine’.

    • etomacq

      Ang batas ay batas. Kaya hindi dinaan sa bidding kasi malaki komisyon…

  • LegalJustice

    What is her motive why she did not follow the protocol in the first place without public bidding. She thought she can get away with it, duh.

  • mekeni62

    With Pnoy not far behind let’s wait if this case prospers.

    • Jack

      this case won’t prosper. sandiganbayan will dismiss her case and padaca’s problem is solved

  • demonYOU

    Siguraduhin mo lang ombudsman carpio na hindi nabayarang ang dalawang bata mo at ito ay talagang naaayon sa batas! kung hindi ay mga walang HONOR yan tulad ng walang honor na si UrHONOR!

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