Group asks graft court to suspend governor in 2004 caseBy Cynthia D. Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A group calling itself Marinduque Reform Movement (MRM) is seeking the suspension of Gov. Carmencita O. Reyes over graft and malversation charges involving P5 million she is facing in the antigraft court Sandiganbayan.
In a letter to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales dated Sept. 11, MRM head Jose V. Andres said Reyes had been criminally charged in connection with the P728-million fertilizer fund scam in 2004 during the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The letter said the P5 million was part of the P728-million fertilizer fund released by the Department of Budget and Management for the purchase of a shredding machine and other pieces of equipment allegedly without public bidding.
The cases against Reyes have been filed on March 18, 2011.
They, however, hardly moved two years and six months later as the Office of the Ombudsman has not initiated or filed a motion to set these cases for hearing, Andres said.
He said Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, provides that “any incumbent public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this act… is pending in court shall be suspended from office.”
“What is perceived by us is that your (Morales’) office has not made earnest efforts to ask for the suspension of Governor Reyes because she is a member of the Liberal Party and since you were appointed by President Benigno Aquino III who is the titular head of the Liberal Party, then you are protecting Governor Reyes,” Andres wrote.
Reyes on Wednesday denied involvement in the 2004 fertilizer fund scam, saying the province did not receive the P5 million fund allegedly used for the purchase of farm equipment.
“My lawyers believe some people must have gotten my electronic signature from the computer,” she said.
“We only got one shredder and that’s it. Why would we even want chemical fertilizer when what we were using since were organic fertilizers,” she said. With Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon