Two police officials in ‘euro generals’ case ask court to junk graft raps
Two police officials in the 2008 “euro generals” controversy have asked the Sandiganbayan to junk the graft charges against them in connection with the illegal disbursement of P10 million intelligence funds which were diverted to the police delegates’ travel expenses.
In separate motions, accused Chief Supt. Orlando Pestaño, a former director for finance, and his disbursing officer Supt. Samuel Rodriguez asked the court to quash the graft charges against them because they supposedly only acted by the orders of their respective superiors.
The graft charges stemmed from a complaint by the Ombudsman accusing Pestaño and Rodriguez of allowing themselves to be influenced by then comptroller Director Eliseo de la Paz to allow the release of P10 million in intelligence money to fund the Philippine National Police (PNP) delegation to Russia on October 2008.
The issue erupted when De la Paz, his wife Marife, Chief Supt. Jaime Caringal and Cynthia Versoza (wife of then PNP Chief Jesus Versoza) were stopped by customs officials at the Moscow International Airport on Oct. 11, 2008, for carrying 105,000 euros (P6.4 million) and $17,300 that exceeded the allowable limit of $3,000.
In his motion, Pestaño said he should not be charged for four counts of graft and three counts of illegal use of public funds under the Revised Penal Code, pointing instead to then PNP chief Versoza for being directly in charge of the intel funds.
He said that he should not take the blame while Versoza was not even included in the graft complaint.
Upon instruction of authority
“He (Pestaño) did not act on his own but upon the instruction of authority in control of the use of confidential/intelligence funds. The one in control is the chief PNP Jesus Versoza … Lamentably, Pestaño is now being made to answer for violations of (the antigraft law),” the motion read.
Pestaño said he should not be included in the graft charge because he was not involved in the preparation and processing of the delegates’ travel expenses.
Pestaño also said the graft information should be quashed because he wrote a memorandum September 2008 informing De la Paz of the illegality of diverting intel funds for other purposes.
He cited a presidential decree saying an accountable officer may be relieved of liability if the official notified the superior of the illegality of the act.
Meanwhile, Pestaño’s disbursement officer Rodriguez said his four counts of graft and three counts of illegal use of public funds should be junked because he also notified his superior Pestaño that the release of said intel funds was illegal.
“Rodriguez made a notification in writing to his immediate superior coaccused Pestaño. He was quick and alert to detect red flags in the unusual instruction of coaccused (Senior Supt. Tomas) Rentoy to him to have P10 million fund available for release to Dela Paz. This alone is enough to exclude him in the case,” Rodriguez’s motion said.
Both accused also asked the court to defer their arraignment on April 7 pending resolution of their motions to quash.
Also facing graft charges are Dela Paz, Rentoy from the PNP Directorate for Comptrollership, Director Romeo Ricardo, Deputy Director General Emmanuel Carta, Deputy Director General Ismael Rafanan, Director German Doria and Caringal. RC
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