Jaraula’s trial over fertilizer fund scam to proceed
The Sandiganbayan will proceed with the trial of former Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Constantino Jaraula for graft and malversation in connection with the alleged misuse of P3 million in fertilizer funds four years ago.
In a resolution issued on Nov. 5, the court’s Second Division denied Jaraula’s motion to quash the charges over the inordinate delay in the Ombudsman’s investigation.
The court found the three-year delay—from the filing of the complaint on Aug. 4, 2014, to the Ombudsman’s approval of the order to indict Jaraula on July 31, 2017—to be “necessary and unavoidable.”
It cited the “complexity and voluminous records” involved in the case, as well as the fact that 16 respondents were named in the complaint.
The court also found that the allegations in the charge sheet were sufficient enough to send the case to trial.
Jaraula was accused of entering into an agreement with Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. (PSDFI), a nongovernment organization (NGO), despite the terms being “unmistakably inimical” to the government.
Prosecutors alleged that PSDFI did not comply with the requirements under Commission on Audit Circular No. 96-003, as donations and membership fees formed the sole sources of its funding. The NGO also failed to prove its track record.
Despite the lack of proof that the farmer-beneficiaries received the purchased fertilizers, the Department of Agriculture still released the payments. —VINCE F. NONATO
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