North Cotabato gov Mendoza posts bail for graft raps
North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, who received flak for her sentiments over the bloody Kidapawan farmers’ dispersal, paid her bail bond from her graft charges over the anomalous procurement of diesel purchased from her mother’s gas station.
Mendoza went to the court room First Division on Friday to post her P90,000 bail bond for three counts of graft or P30,000 for each count.
This after the court on April 26 issued the arrest warrant against her.
In her statement, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said Mendoza authorized the release of P2.4 million from the provincial funds to pay for 49,526.72 liters of fuel used for one road grader and four dump trucks utilized during a two-day road rehabilitation project.
But no public bidding was conducted, and instead the provincial government directly contracted with the gas station owned by her mother.
Mendoza said it was only the Taliño Shell Station which was “willing to accommodate the credit term requested by the provincial government.”
But Morales said “there was no compelling justification for dispensing with the requirement of public bidding.”
The Ombudsman said “the great disparity between the estimated 552 liters of diesel actually consumed for the two-day road maintenance project in Magpet vis-à-vis the 20,833 liters actually paid for, is proof that the fuel-purchase transaction is illegal and that this transaction is obviously a scheme to pocket government funds.
“(R)espondent made it appear that the diesel fuel was procured and used in a government project when in truth, only a small portion of the fuel was actually used and the rest was converted to cash for the benefit of those who were involved in the fraudulent transaction,” Morales added.
Under Section 3(e) of the anti-graft law, a public officer is prohibited from causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
Flak over Kidapawan dispersal
Governor Mendoza received flak on social media for her sentiments in criticizing politicians who were donating sacks of rice to the farmer protesters and using North Cotabato as a political “staging ground.”
“Bigla kayong darating, magbibigay ng bigas? Nang-i-insulto ba kayo o namumulitiko kayo?” Mendoza reportedly said.
(You suddenly show up and give away rice? Are you giving insults or are you politicking?)
The police on April 1 fired at the farmer protesters, killing at least three farmers, one of which was shot in close range while raising his hands, and injuring 116 others.
The police fought back with bullets after protesters threw rocks as they blocked the highway to demand rice subsidy and assistance from government.
The violent dispersal raised a flurry of criticisms from netizens against Mendoza for saying the local government was not remiss in providing rice subsidy to farmers.
During the Senate fact-finding hearing in Davao city on Thursday, Mendoza denied ordering the violent dispersal of farmers, with senators claiming the law does not allow the police to be armed during rally dispersals. JE
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