Court lets ex-parks exec plea bargain in graft case
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan allowed a former executive director of Manila’s National Parks and Development Committee who was charged with six counts of graft to enter into a plea bargaining agreement with state lawyers.
With the decision from the Seventh Division last May 10, Carlito Fajardo was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser offense of committing prohibited transactions, in accordance with the section on Prohibited Acts and Transactions of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Fajardo originally entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment in 2017, for supposedly committing graft by approving security contracts and releasing payment vouchers to Variance Protective and Security Agency (Variance) without public bidding.
The information filed against Fajardo claimed that a total of P63.37 million was released in different dates from 2005 to 2009.
The counsel of the accused explored the possibility of entering into a plea bargaining agreement in February 2019, during the presentation of Fajardo’s evidence.
“On 10 May 2019, a hearing was held to determine the proposed plea bargain. In open court, the prosecution manifested that it is willing to accept the plea bargain offer of accused Fajardo,” the decision penned by Associate Justice Zaldy Trespeses.
“It manifested that the Office of the Special Prosecutor had secured authority from the Ombudsman to consent to the guilty plea offer of accused,” they added.
Fajardo is ordered to pay a penalty of P5,000 per each count of violation of the Code of Conduct — or a total of P30,000.
Upon payment of the fine, the cash bonds he posted for temporary liberty will be released and the hold departure order issued against him will be lifted.
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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