Whistleblower Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada and his brother Jose Orlando should be made to pay over half a million pesos in unliquidated cash advances they incurred when they were still officials of the state-owned Philippine Forest Corporation (Philforest), according to a 2011 Commission on Audit (COA) report.
The COA said the Philforest should send demand letters to the Lozada brothers who are among 13 former Philforest officials who failed to settle their cash advances totaling P1.15 million before they left the service.
The COA also said that of the said amount, Lozada’s cash advances reached P495,963 and Jose Orlando’s, P80,000.
If they refuse or are unable to pay, government auditors recommended that Philforest “file appropriate charges” against them,” the COA further said.
The Lozadas are being tried for graft charges before the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division over alleged fraudulent grants of land lease contracts for public lands administered by Philforest during their stay there.
One of the contracts was allegedly awarded to Jose Orlando Lozada and another to Transforma Quinta Inc., a private company represented by Lozada and his wife Maria Violeta.
Jun Lozada was indicted on two counts of graft and has posted P60,000 bail bonds for his temporary liberty while his brother posted P30,000.
At a hearing yesterday, the Sandiganbayan set the start of trial of their graft cases on May 20 and 30.
The prosecution said it will present at least 12 witnesses, including current Philforest president Erwin Santos, graft investigators of the Office of the Ombudsman probers, a personnel of the Philippine Senate and the Civil Service Commission.