Friday, April 15, 2011

Ombudsman orders filing of plunder raps vs. Lorenzo, Bolante, several others

MANILA, April 15 (PNA) - The Office of the Ombudsman ordered on Friday the filing of plunder charges before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan against former Department of Agriculture Secretary Luis Ramon “Chito” Lorenzo, former DA Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante, former Quezon City Rep. Nanette Castelo-Daza and 33 other incumbent and former government officials and private individuals in connection with the P728-million fertilizer fund anomaly.

Charged with one count of plunder each were Lorenzo, Bolante and former DA Assistant Secretary Ibarra Poliquit; and private respondents Jaime Eonzon Paule, Marilyn Araos, Joselito Flordeliza, Marites Aytona, Jose Barredo and Leonicia Marco-Llarena.

Charged with one count each of malversation were DA Regional Executive Directors Gumersindo D. Lasam of Tuguegarao City, Cesar Rodriguez of San Fernando City, Dennis Araullo of the DA Central Office, Ricardo Oblena of Cebu City and several others.

With the exception of Araullo, they were likewise charged with one count each of violation of Section 3 (e) Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as “The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.” Araullo was charged with five counts of the said crime.

In a 134-page joint-resolution, the Ombudsman said “there exists probable cause” to file the charges against the respondents.

Likewise, former Congressmen Federico Sandoval (Navotas) and Oscar Gozos (Batangas), former Governors Carmencita Reyes (Marinduque) and Leonardo Verceles Jr. (Catanduanes), 19 other DA and local officers and three private individuals were charged with the same offense.

Charges of technical malversation were also filed against Daza, Sandoval, Gozos, Araullo, and 13 other DA officers.

On the other hand, the complaints against DA Assistant Secretary Belinda Gonzales; Emma Gonzales (office-in-charge, Cash and Disbursement Section); Catanduanes provincial accountant Sonia Villaluna and private respondents Deonilla Misola-Gregorio, Redentor Antolin, Linus Villanueva, Phydias Banez, Fernando Gallarte, and Frederico Quevedo were dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.

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