Masbate governor, 2 others beat rap in fertilizer fund scam | Inquirer News

Masbate governor, 2 others beat rap in fertilizer fund scam

/ 05:00 AM March 23, 2017

Saying it took a long time for the Ombudsman to investigate, the Sandiganbayan has thrown out the graft charges against reelected Masbate Gov. Antonio Kho and two others in connection with  the fertilizer fund scam in 2003.

Also cleared with Kho were provincial administrator Roger Rapsing and Hexaphil Agriventures executive Victoria Ajero.

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The Sandiganbayan’s First Division said the “inordinate delay” in the Ombudsman’s investigation of the complaint against Kho, which took five years before charges were filed last November, violated the right of the accused to a speedy resolution of the case.

The antigraft court said the complaint against Kho was filed in May 2011.

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But it took note that the Ombudsman received a complaint for plunder against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante over the nationwide fertilizer fund scam in 2004, and formed a task force to investigate in 2006.

The Ombudsman investigating panel indicted Kho, Rapsing, Ajero and Hexaphil president Alex Rivera in February 2015 for the provincial government’s anomalous purchase of P4.9 million worth of liquid fertilizer from Hexaphil in 2003.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved the filing of charges in July 2015. The charges were filed last November.

While Kho, Rapsing and Ajero have posted bail last December, Rivera however has not been arrested.

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TAGS: Jocelyn Bolante, Masbate Gov. Antonio Kho, Ombudsman, Philippine news updates, Sandiganbayan
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