Ex-solon detained for pork scam seeks court’s nod to attend son’s wedding
Former Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) party-list representative Edgar Valdez has asked the Sandiganbayan’s to permit him to attend the wedding of his son amid the solon’s detention for plunder over the pork barrel scam.
In an urgent motion for furlough before the anti-graft court Fifth Division, Valdez through his counsels asked for furlough on Dec. 27 from 12 noon to 10 p.m. to attend the nuptial of his eldest son Renjo Valdez to be held in Mary The Queen Parish, Greenhills, San Juan City.
Valdez also asked to attend the dinner reception at the Manila Peninsula, Makati at 6:30 p.m.
“Per Filipino custom and tradition, the father and mother of the groom will walk their son up the aisle to the altar,” the motion read.
“To enable the herein accused to have this privilege to practice this norm and purely for humanitarian consideration, it is respectfully prayed of the Honorable Court to give the accused a furlough… This will give the accused the opportunity to celebrate the wedding of his son with his family,” it added.
Valdez represented electric cooperatives as APEC congressman from 2002 to 2010.
Principal whistleblower Benhur Luy has testified before the court that he saw Valdez personally sign letters endorsing the bogus foundations of scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles to implement his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) projects.
Luy said Valdez, whose codename in the alleged scam is “Kuryente,” signed the documents in the conference room of JLN Corp. in the presence of Luy and Napoles.
In its indictment against the former congressman, the Ombudsman said Valdez from 2004 to 2010 purportedly received P57.787 million in kickbacks from Napoles in the scam of using bogus foundations to implement ghost projects for kickbacks. Payoffs were allegedly made at Napoles’ office in Ortigas.
Prosecutors said the projects like livelihood programs, distribution of farm inputs and farm implements, agricultural starter kits, technology transfer training via video courses and printed materials, vegetable seeds, gardening packages, knapsack sprayers, concentrated fertilizers, and other tools and equipment never went to their beneficiaries.
“(The) PDAF of Valdez was never used for the intended projects as these were considered ‘ghost’ projects, with fabricated documents submitted for its liquidation,” the Office of the Ombudsman said.
The Ombudsman noted that “The mayors and municipal agriculturists reported that they never received anything from the office of Valdez, or from any of the project partners.”
Valdez is detained at Camp Bagong Diwa as he faces the plunder charges. Also detained for plunder over the scam are Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr, and Masbate governor and former congresswoman Rizalina Lanete. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was released from detention after the Supreme Court granted him bail on humanitarian grounds. CDG
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