Isabela Gov. Dy denies hand in charges vs Padaca
CAUAYAN CITY—Isabela Governor Faustino Dy III said his family had no part in the filing of criminal charges in the Sandiganbayan against former Governor Grace Padaca in connection with the alleged improper financing of a hybrid rice program in 2006.
“Who are we to meddle in the case?” he said. “She (Padaca) has been a close ally of the President (Aquino). It means that whoever is the sitting president, the wheel of justice is rolling just like in this criminal case against her. Why is she turning the tables on us?”
Dy was reacting to allegations made by Padaca and the Kaya Natin! Movement that the criminal charges filed against her were part of a political strategy to force her out of Isabela politics.
She faces arrest on a warrant issued by the Sandiganbayan antigraft court.
“The order for her arrest emanated from the Sandiganbayan and we did not have any hand in that issue,” Dy said.
Padaca and several officers of a nongovernment organization were accused of mishandling government funds before the antigraft court.
The former governor allegedly allowed the NGO Economic Development for Western Isabela and Northern Luzon Foundation (Edwinlfi) to make hybrid rice loans from a P25-million fund in 2006 without a public bidding.
Former Isabela Representative Santiago Respicio, a Dy ally, filed the suit against Padaca, Roxas town Vice Mayor Servando Soriano, who was Edwinlfi chairman and president; foundation manager Dionisio Pine and the late Johnas Lamorena.
Padaca said the project benefited the province’s major towns, whose hybrid rice production made them some of Cagayan’s biggest producers.
But Dy said this was an erroneous premise.
“Who says 10 towns were made big rice producers? Some of those towns like San Mariano are not even top rice producers, but [had been planting their farms to] corn,” he said in a text message.
Padaca, a former broadcast journalist, defeated the governor’s older brother, Faustino Dy Jr., in the 2004 gubernatorial race. It was the first election loss suffered by the Dy family in years.
She sat for a second term in 2007, although the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruled that Benjamin Dy, another brother of the governor, had won by a 1,051-vote margin.
Padaca challenged the Comelec ruling in the Supreme Court. She subsequently lost to the current governor, Faustino Dy III, in the 2010 elections. Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon
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