Court orders arrest of solon, 5 others
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has ordered the arrest of Lanao del Norte Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo and five other persons for malversation of P5 million in public funds, in one of the hundreds of dubious transactions made in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam in 2004 allegedly orchestrated by then Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante.
Dimaporo is the fifth lawmaker to be implicated in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam after Representatives Oscar Gozos of Batangas province, Federico Sandoval of Navotas City, Nanette Castelo-Daza of Quezon City, and Carmencita Reyes of Marinduque province.
Bolante is on trial in the Sandiganbayan on charges of plunder in connection with the fertilizer fund scam.
He is accused of diverting taxpayers’ money to the 2004 campaign of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Requests for funding from the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund beyond P5 million have to be approved by the Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization.
On the recommendation of the Ombudsman, Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Roland B. Jurado has denied bail to Dimaporo in the malversation charge.
But Jurado approved a P30,000 bail for Dimaporo in the charge of causing undue injury to the government.
A source said the 63-year-old lawmaker has requested that he be detained at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City, as he has a heart condition.
The first hearing is set next Monday.
The Sandiganbayan issued the arrest warrant on July 31, after finding no reason to overturn the Ombudsman’s finding of probable cause to indict Dimaporo and his five codefendants for malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents.
Dimaporo and his codefendants, former provincial agriculturist Isabelo Luna and private citizens Felizardo Dragon, Evangeline Ontiveros, Rosalinda Bisenio and Elmer Sayre, were accused of graft for conspiring to obtain the release of taxpayers’ money for the fictitious purchase of 10,000 bags of Saka organic fertilizer under the farm inputs and farm implements program of the Department of Agriculture.
The four private individuals were officers of Lanao Foundation Inc. (LFI), an NGO Dimaporo formed about two decades ago and which was used as conduit for the fertilizer fund.
Dimaporo and the other defendants allegedly used fake, undated inspection reports, undated acceptance reports, physical and financial status reports, and a list of farmer-beneficiaries to simulate the delivery of organic fertilizer to Dimaporo’s office and its distribution to farmers in the second district of Lanao del Norte through Lanao Foundation.
In her decision in October 2012, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said no fertilizer was delivered and distributed “thereby giving unwarranted benefit, advantage, or preference to LFI and causing undue injury to the government.”
Dimaporo and his wife, Imelda, are also facing graft charges for the misappropriation of P50 million in state funds intended for the purchase high-breed cattle.
The cattle were supposed to be distributed to farmers, but were allegedly diverted to Dimaporo’s farm in Mamagum, Sultan Naga Dimaporo.
First posted 6:42 pm | Friday, August 2nd, 2013