Former Isabela governor Padaca found guilty of malversation, graft

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 15) —The Sandiganbayan Third Division on Friday has found former Isabela governor Grace Padaca guilty of malversation and graft in connection with the P25 million fund given to a foundation for a provincial rice program.

Padaca, who was present in the promulgation, denied that she received an amount from the said fund.

“Yung P25 million na yun , ni piso o sentimo walang napunta sa akin at lahat napunta sa magsasaka ng isabela,”she told reporters.

[Translation: I did not get either a peso or a cent from that P25 million. They all went to the farmers of Isabela.]

Last month, the Supreme Court allowed the anti-graft court to continue the proceedings on the case against Padaca and two others for graft and malversation.

Sandiganbayan’s Second Division dismissed the consolidated petition of Padaca, Economic Development for Western Isabela and Northern Luzon Foundation, Inc. (EDWINLFI) manager Dionisio Pine, and Municipal Councilor Servando, that seeks to reverse the Office of the Ombudsman’s resolutions, which found probable cause to indict them.

The anti-graft court sentenced Padaca to 12 to 14 years for malversation and six to 10 years for graft. She was also ordered to pay the Isabela government a fine of P18 million.

The court also approved doubling her bail of P70,000 to P140,000 for temporary liberty.

Padaca maintained that the provincial council authorized the memorandum of agreement she entered.

“Hindi ako pumasok sa memorandum of agreement na walang authority ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan... kaya di ko alam bakit ayun ang naging desisyon,” she said.

[Translation: I did not enter into that memorandum of agreement without the authority of the Provincial Council....that’s why I don’t know why the decision turned out like that.]