Former lawmaker, 4 others found guilty of graft in fertilizer scam

Former lawmaker, 4 others found guilty of graft in fertilizer fund scam

/ 05:54 AM July 11, 2024

Former lawmaker, 4 others found guilty of graft in fertilizer fund scam

Inquirer photo/Niño Jesus Orbeta

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has convicted former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor and Rep. Constantino Jaraula and four others of graft over the transfer of P3 million in public funds to a nongovernment organization (NGO) that was not qualified to supply fertilizers for a 2004 agriculture program under then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The antigraft court, however, cleared them of malversation charges because the prosecution was unable to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


READ: The mother of all pork scams


Also acquitted was former city agriculturist Godofredo Bajas after the prosecution failed to substantiate the accusations against him.

Jaraula, who is now 87 years old, was convicted along with pork barrel scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles by the Sandiganbayan in 2021 for graft and malversation of public funds totaling P28 million. He was also found guilty of three counts of direct bribery.

Government ban

In the latest decision promulgated on July 8, the court’s Second Division found Jaraula, along with former Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Joel Rudinas; Ma. Reina Lumantas and Claudia Artazo, both officers at the DA Northern Mindanao regional office; and Evelyn de Leon, president of Philippine Social Development Foundation, Inc. (PSDFI), guilty of violating Sec. 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

They were sentenced from six years to 10 years in prison while Jaraula, Rudinas, Lumantas and Artazo were also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

The charges were part of the fertilizer fund controversy involving the alleged diversion of a P728-million allocation to the DA for the rollout of the “Ginintuang Masaganang Ani Farm Input Farm Implements Program.”

“The court holds that the accused Jaraula, Lumantas, Rudinas and Artazo’s blatant violations of the applicable laws, rules and regulations reveal their common criminal design to unduly favor PSDFI and De Leon,” the 77-page decision stated.


It noted their role in facilitating the preparation of the required papers for the release of fertilizer funds that led to PSDFI getting P3 million “to the damage and prejudice of the government.”

The P3 million was allotted for the purchase of 3,750 bottles of liquid organic fertilizers, the disbursement of which was also green-lighted by Jaraula.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

According to the court, the three DA personnel approved the documents despite the lack of requirements and irregularities, including the fact that PSDFI was not registered with the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, an attached DA agency, and therefore not authorized to deal in fertilizers.

TAGS: Cagayan de Oro, Sandiganbayan, Sandiganbayan cases

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.