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Duterte pardons ex-Antique gov convicted of graft

/ 12:40 AM January 13, 2017

ILOILO CITY—President Duterte has granted conditional pardon to former Antique Gov. and Rep. Jovito Plameras Jr. who was convicted of graft in 2008.

But for the pardon to take effect, Plameras has to pay the Antique provincial government P2.65 million, according to an order dated Dec. 8, 2016, which was released by the Office of the President.

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Through his lawyer, Plameras, 82, sought executive clemency, citing his age and health condition.

The Sandiganbayan, on Dec. 2, 2008, convicted Plameras of graft based on a case filed by former Antique Gov. Exequiel Javier, who represented the provincial government.

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The case stemmed from the purchase of 1,354 school desks and 5,246 armchairs amounting to P5.66 million in 1997 under a project of the then Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS).

Court records showed that Plameras, representing the provincial government, contracted the supplier CKL Enterprises for the purchase of the school materials without bidding and authorized the full payment before these were delivered.

But of the total number of purchased items, only 1,294 desks and 1,838 armchairs were delivered, most of which were defective, according to the Sept. 4, 2013 decision of the Supreme Court which affirmed Plameras’ conviction.

The judgment became final and executory on March 11, 2014.

Plameras repeatedly denied violating any law.  He said he never profited from the transaction and that he had no hand in the procurement of the school materials.

He also accused personnel of the DECS, Land Bank of the Philippines and the supplier of collusion.

Plameras has not been brought to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City in Manila. He has been confined at Angel Salazar Memorial General Hospital (ASMGH) in the capital town of San Jose after he suffered a stroke in April 2015.

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The Sandiganbayan, with the approval of the Supreme Court in September last year, ordered Plameras’ transfer to the Antique Rehabilitation Center (ARC) until he was fit to travel to the New Bilibid Prison.

But the former governor remains confined at ASMGH.

In an earlier interview, lawyer Antonio Alcantara, legal counsel of Plameras, said his client could not stand and walk on his own since half of his body is paralyzed. The governor’s blood pressure has been fluctuating, he said.

ARC officials said the facility does not have the equipment and personnel to handle Plameras’ health condition.

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TAGS: antique, conditional pardon, duterte, Graft, Jovito Plameras Jr
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