Ex-Ilocos Sur solon Baterina posts bail for pork barrel scam raps
Former Ilocos Sur Rep. Salacnib Baterina on Thursday posted bail for graft and malversation charges for his alleged involvement in the Janet Lim-Napoles pork barrel scam.
Baterina went to the Sandiganbayan Second Division to post his P120,000 bail bond, a reduction by half of the original bail bond of P240,000 after his request for reduction was granted by the court.
He posted bail ahead of his arrest.
The prosecutors initially set the bail amount for malversation at P40,000 for each count, graft at P30,000 for each count, and direct bribery at P30,000.
Baterina refused to talk with reporters invoking the sub judice rule because he filed a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court questioning his indictment by the Ombudsman.
Baterina and 17 others were charged with three counts of graft, three counts of malversation and one count of direct bribery for the alleged misuse of Salacnib’s P35 million Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) in 2007.
While Baterina was charged, then budget secretary Rolando Andaya was cleared by the Ombudsman after the latter later granted Andaya’s motion for reconsideration.
The Ombudsman found merit in Andaya’s defense that there was no need for the implementing agencies to submit the project profiles and endorsements.
Andaya was earlier indicted for his issuance of the sub-allotment release orders and notice of cash allotment despite the absence of the required project profiles and implementing agencies endorsements in violation of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) National Budget Circular No. 476.
According to the charge sheet, Baterina was charged with violations of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for acting with manifest partiality, evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence in endorsing to implement his PDAF projects to the bogus Napoles foundations Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc. (Kamfi) and Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. (PSDFI).
Baterina is accused of causing undue injury to government by endorsing these foundations without the benefit of a public bidding.
Baterina was also charged with malversation of public funds punishable under the Revised Penal Code for allegedly misappropriating the PDAF for projects which turned out to be non-existent, “to the damage and prejudice of the Republic of the Philippines.”
Charged with Baterina and Napoles is another alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Godofredo Roque, who is accused of receiving the check for Baterina’s PDAF.
The prosecutors said Napoles and Roque controlled the bogus foundations. Roque was Napoles’ representative to Kamfi.
Roque is alleged to be the male counterpart of Napoles in the billion peso pork barrel scam. He and Napoles are accused of operating a ring of bogus NGOs which spent pork barrel funds in ghost projects for kickbacks.
Former Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chief Zenaida Ducut was also charged for being the alleged agent of Salacnib. She was charged with one count of graft and malversation each for allegedly receiving the kickbacks for Salacnib from Napoles. She has posted bail.
Ducut and Baterina were both charged with direct bribery punishable under the Revised Penal Code for allegedly receiving P3 million in kickbacks from Napoles for their participation in the scam.
Prosecutors accused them of bribery for “unjustly enriching (themselves) at the expense and to the prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.”
Principal whistleblower Benhur Luy said Ducut, a former Pampanga representative, acted as an agent between Baterina and Napoles.
In the resolution indicting the officials, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said “the complaints, as well as the testimonial and documentary evidence provided details which evidence the widespread misuse of the PDAF allotted to Baterina.”
Morales added that Baterina’s multi-million PDAF “was coursed through a complex scheme for the supposed livelihood projects for the 1st district which turned out to be inexistent or ghost projects.”
Known as the pork barrel scam queen, Napoles is serving a life sentence for the serious illegal detention of whistleblower Luy while facing numerous plunder charges in court. The Office of the Solicitor General however has appealed for the reversal of her conviction.
Meanwhile, pending before the anti-graft court are the plunder and graft charges against former senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile for their involvement in the Napoles pork barrel scam. Revilla and Estrada are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, while Enrile is out on bail. JE/rga