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News Briefs: National parks body execs charged with graft

/ 12:30 AM January 28, 2017

National parks body execs charged with graft

State prosecutors have charged three successive executive directors of the National Parks Development Committee for the payment of P87.25 million to a security firm from 2004 to 2010, even as its services were engaged without public bidding. Former executive directors Jaime Recio and Carlito Fajardo and former acting executive director Salome Habal were separately charged for a total of nine violations of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act over the allegedly irregular payments made to Variance Protective and Security Agency. Prosecutors questioned the release of funds to Variance for its services from September 2004 , to January 2010, because the firm was “not legally entitled” to receive the payments. Recio faces one count of graft for paying P7.84 million for services supposedly rendered from January to September 2004. His successor Fajardo was charged with six counts of graft for the payment of P66.79 million covering the period from September 2004, to May 2009. Habal faces two counts of graft from the payment of P12.62 million from May 2009, to January 2010. —VINCE F. NONATO

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Kalinga ex-mayor faces malversation case

State prosecutors have formally charged the former mayor of Tanudan, Kalinga for failing to liquidate P5.67 million in cash advances. Former Mayor Grace Dagadag and municipal accountant Bernadette Fernando were charged with malversation under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code. The officials allegedly approved and then received the cash advances drawn from municipal funds without legally authorized purposes. The allegedly misappropriated cash advances also were not subjected to accounting and liquidation despite repeated demands by the Commission on Audit’s Cordillera Administrative Region office. A bail of P40,000 was recommended. —VINCE F. NONATO

Puerto Princesa mayor to contest dismissal

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Mayor Lucilo Bayron on Friday said he would contest the order of the Ombudsman to remove him from office for serious dishonesty and misconduct. “We have not received a copy but it’s true, there is an order for dismissal. But this is not yet over. I believe that once we are able to explain to the Ombudsman the ins and outs of this case, we will prevail,” Bayron said in a local radio interview. Bayron said his lawyers are studying their legal option. The graft body’s ruling cited “dishonesty” committed by Bayron when he appointed his son Karl in concurrent positions as head of security and the city government’s environmental enforcement arm, Bantay Puerto, when he assumed office during his first term in 2013. The Ombudsman ruled that their decision to conceal their relationship and in making a “false statement” in the contract of employment was a “deliberate violation” of “behavior expected among public officials and employees” which is to state the truth. —REDEMPTO D. ANDA

Sandigan halves Degamo’s bail to P1.115M

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and two other officials secured their temporary freedom on Friday, after the Sandiganbayan halved their bail to P1.115 million. This came hours after Degamo voluntarily surrendered to the antigraft court on Friday morning, three days after it issued a warrant of arrest against him. On Friday afternoon, the court issued a minute resolution stating it “resolves to grant the said motion/s for reduction of bail” filed by Degamo, provincial accountant Teodorico Reyes and provincial treasurer Danilo Mendez. This allowed the accused to secure temporary freedom for half the originally set amount of P2.23 million. The bail was set at P15,000 for one count of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and P100,000 for each of the 11 counts of malversation through falsification. The amounts were originally set at P30,000 and P200,000 respectively. —VINCE F. NONATO

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TAGS: Bernadette Fernando, Carlito Fajardo, Danilo Mendez, Grace Dagadag, graft charges, Jaime Recio, Kalinga ex-mayor, Kalinga municipal accountant, Karl Bayron, Lucilo Bayron, National Parks Development Committee, Negros Oriental governor, NPDC, Office of the Ombudsman, Puerto Princesa mayor, Roel Degamo, Salome Habal, Teodorico Reyes
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