Lawmaker’s wife strongly denies involvement in cop’s slay
She “categorically and vehemently den(ies) any involvement in the death of former police officer Romeo Ricalde,” Florida Robes said on Friday, after Ricalde’s widow alleged that her husband was killed in connection with the pork barrel scam.
Robes is the wife of San Jose del Monte Rep. Arturo Robes who was among the 20 current and former lawmakers named by four whistle-blowers as having diverted some P500 million in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations to 15 questionable nongovernment organizations (NGOs).
Police Chief Inspector Ricalde was gunned down by motorcycle-riding men on Oct. 26, 2013.
According to Ricalde’s widow, Bernadette, her husband had recorded his conversation with Florida Robes about the transactions of WorkPhil and Sagip-Buhay People Support Foundations, alleged recipients of the diverted funds.
Bernadette was among the four whistle-blowers whose affidavits about the pork barrel scam were filed in the Office of the Ombudsman by their lawyer, Levito Baligod.
Florida Robes said she had an “unclear recollection” of her conversation with Ricalde after they were introduced by Bernadette prior to his ambush.
“Now it is alleged that he had secretly recorded our conversation, a clear violation of Republic Act No. 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Act,” she said in a statement.
“Assuming but without admitting that such a recorded conversation had at all taken place, I can’t find at all any logical connection between, say the Sagip-Buhay Foundation and the possibility of me staging or directing (Ricalde’s) ambush,” she added.
Robes also pointed out that Ricalde was an antidrug police officer, whose job entailed running after drug syndicates in Quezon City, “but not after the operators of fake NGOs.”
She added: “In the first place, I am not and never was an operator of an NGO, so I can’t even lie (sic) any motive to silence him off, granting that there had been a shift in his police duty from drugs to PDAF scandals.”
According to Robes’ statement, “(o)ne thing is closest to (the) truth. That in the course of his work, (Ricalde) had crossed paths with a drug syndicate who wants to silence him to death (sic).”
P200-million pork barrel
She added: “In the end, I am confident that the truth will prevail, and will set me free.”
In her sworn statement submitted to the Ombudsman by Baligod, Bernadette said that WorkPhil and Sagip-Buhay Foundation received approximately P200 million in pork barrel funds from several members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
She added that the Robes-controlled organizations also received P10 million from the Arroyo administration’s presidential social fund on Feb. 11, 2010, with the money deposited in the personal account of one of Robes’ employees, Michelle Imperial.
The widow added that the incorporators of WorkPhil were employees of Congressman Robes and his wife, while the incorporators of Sagip Buhay were a mix of employees of Florida Robes and Evelyn Miranda, one of the alleged 15 operators of the dubious NGOs.