Masbate gov in pork barrel scam to be detained in Camp Bagong Diwa
Video by Noy Morcoso/INQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines — Masbate governor and former solon Rizalina Seachon-Lanete will be detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) female dormitory in Camp Bagong Diwa, after she turned herself in at the Sandiganbayan for her plunder charges over the pork barrel scam.
Lanete surrendered Wednesday night to the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) after the antigraft court issued the warrant of arrest.
The court effectively denied her motion to be detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center with senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, who are also detained for plunder over the scam.
She had cited threats to her life due to intense political rivalry, having survived three assassination attempts.
Lanete will join in detention alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and Atty. Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s alleged aide in the scam.
”Lanete’s urgent ex-parte motion for detention at PNP Custodial Center is denied for lack of merit… The CIDG shall immediately transfer Lanete to the custody of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig city…” according to the antigraft court Fourth Division’s resolution signed by Associate Justices chairperson Jose Hernandez, and members Alex Quiroz and Oscar Herrera.
Smiling to reporters upon her arrival, Lanete, wearing civilian clothes, was brought to the antigraft court by the CIDG which returned the warrant of arrest against the governor.
But when she was brought to the Clerk of Court of the Fourth Division which will hear her case, Lanete turned somber as she tried to shield herself from the cameras.
She also broke down in tears during her booking process.
Lanete also refused to answer questions from reporters.
Lanete’s lawyer Laurence Arroyo said the governor was visibly upset about the case filed against her.
“This has affected her emotionally since she is innocent. Yes, she felt a bit sad and down this morning,” Arroyo told reporters.
Arroyo said the defense will file a motion for Lanete to post bail.
Meanwhile, the antigraft court on Friday issued the warrant of arrest against Lanete’s chief of staff, Jose Sumalpong, who also faces plunder charges over the scam. The court denied Sumalpong’s motion to defer the issuance of an arrest warrant.
Accused of conniving with purported pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, Lanete is alleged to have pocketed P108.405 million siphoned from her Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) from 2004 to 2010.
In its complaint, the Ombudsman said Lanete misused P112.29 million of PDAF from 2007 to 2009. Principal whistleblower Benhur Luy in his ledger said Lanete from 2004 to 2010 received P108.405 million in kickbacks, of which P73.065 million were siphoned from Lanete’s PDAF from 2007 to 2009.
In its indictment, the Ombudsman said “Lanete continuously endorsed the implementation of her PDAF-funded livelihood and agricultural projects to questionable NGOs associated with or controlled by Napoles.”
“(Lanete’s) P112.29 million PDAF was anomalously used for livelihood projects, financial assistance to farmers, farm inputs and farm implements, skills training and distribution of livelihood kits in nail care, wellness, massage and candle- making. Several Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) were entered into between Lanete, (Technology Resource Center), National Agribusiness Corp) and the NGO-partners,” the Ombudsman said.
The court has set Lanete’s arraignment for plunder on March 19 at 8:30 a.m.
Lanete is part of the second batch of lawmakers facing charges for purportedly pillaging public funds. APEC Rep. Edgar Valdez faces plunder for allegedly raking in P57.787 million in kickbacks. Meanwhile, facing malversation raps are former Agusan Del Sur. Rep. Rodolfo Plaza, Benguet Rep.Samuel Dangwa, and Cagayan De Oro Rep. Constantino Jaraula.
Senators Revilla, Estrada and Enrile are also facing plunder and graft charges over the Napoles scam.
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