Sandigan finds probable cause to hold ex-solon on trial
The Sandiganbayan Second Division has found probable cause to charge former Agusan Del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza for malversation and graft over the pork barrel scam.
In a resolution, the antigraft court dismissed Plaza’s motion for judicial determination of probable cause and gave the go signal to hold Plaza on trial over the alleged scam.
However, the court approved Plaza’s request to reduce his bail by half. The court allowed him to pay only P75,000 for his five counts of graft, P100,000 for five counts of malversation, and P20,000 for two counts of direct bribery, for a total amount of P195,000.
The former solon faces five counts of malversation, five counts of graft and two counts of direct bribery. The original bail per count of malversation is set at P40,000, bail per graft count at P30,000, and bail per bribery count at P20,000.
Plaza is accused of receiving P42.1 million in kickbacks from his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) projects from 2004 to 2010 under the scheme of accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, with payoffs taking place in Napoles’ house in Alabang Hills or at Napoles’ office in Ortigas.
Plaza is part of the second batch of PDAF-scam tainted lawmakers facing charges for purportedly pillaging public funds through ghost projects using Napoles’ bogus foundations. Former Masbate Rep. Rizalina Seachon-Lañete and APEC party-list Rep. Edgar Valdez face plunder, while former Benguet Rep. Samuel Dangwa and Cagayan De Oro Rep. Constantino Jaraula face malversation.
The antigraft court is also hearing the plunder cases of detained senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile. Estrada and Revilla are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, while Enrile is under hospital arrest. Lañete and Valdez, meanwhile, are detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa.
Of the accused, only the 91-year-old Enrile has been allowed to post bail by the Supreme Court.
Accused mastermind Napoles also faces multiple counts of plunder, malversation and graft. She was sentenced to life in prison for the serious illegal detention of principal whistleblower Benhur Luy. Marc Jayson Cayabyab/RAM
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