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More graft raps filed vs an Ampatuan

/ 04:38 AM May 26, 2017

The stack of corruption charges against a member of the Ampatuan clan of Maguindanao and co-accused in the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre case continued to grow thicker as a third batch of charges against him had been filed at the antigraft court Sandiganbayan, all involving allegedly ghost projects.

Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan, former Maguindanao vice governor, was charged with 75 cases of corruption on top of 197 cases earlier filed by the Ombudsman.

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Sajid is the son of Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr., former Maguindanao governor and alleged mastermind of the massacre who is now dead.

The additional 75 cases had been filed by the Ombudsman at the antigraft court on Monday, alleging Sajid’s involvement in the release of P38 million to Abo Lumberyard and Construction Supply, a fictitious entity.

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The Ombudsman charged Sajid and other Maguindanao officials with fabricating 73 disbursement vouchers to pocket provincial funds from May to September 2009. Four of the vouchers were not numbered or dated, the Ombudsman said.

Sajid and the other accused made it appear that the funds were used on lumber and other materials for the repair of schools in the province, the Ombudsman said.

“In truth and in fact, the above accused knew fully well that no such purchase was made,” the charge sheet read.

One of the accused, Landap Guinaid, former acting provincial engineer of Maguindanao, had been killed on July 28 last year in an ambush in Shariff Aguak town.

Another accused was Norie Unas, former provincial administrator, the star witness in the electoral sabotage case against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Also accused in the case against Sajid were provincial accountant John Estelito Dollosa Jr., provincial general services officer and bids and awards committee chair Kasan Macapendeg, provincial treasurer Osmeña Bandila and provincial engineer Datu Ali Abpi.

Among the witnesses cited in the cases was Maria Gracia Pulido-Tan, former Commission on Audit chair.

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Sajid had been charged with 161 cases in April, all involving the release of millions of pesos of provincial funds for nonexistent projects.

On May 1, the Ampatuan family, through lawyer Gregorio Marquez, said all the contracts cited in the charges “passed through the regular processes of procurement, bidding and audit.”

Sajid was one of the prime suspects in the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre of 58 persons, including 32 media workers, in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao. He is out after the court allowed him to post an P11 million bail.

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TAGS: Andal Ampatuan Sr., graft charges, Maguindanao massacre, Office of the Ombudsman, Sajid Islam Ampatuan
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