• Court defers Padaca’s arraignment to February


    THE arraignment of former Isabela Governor Maria Gracia Cielo “Grace” Padaca for breach of conduct case before the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division scheduled on Thursday has been reset to February 2016.

    Acting Director Louella Mae Oco-Pesquera of the Ombudsman’s Prosecution Bureau VII told the court that “it is the prosecution who is not ready for arraignment.”

    She said they will file the memorandum, which has to be approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, in January.

    “In view of the manifestation of Prosecutor Louella Mae Oco-Pesquera that the Information in these cases are still the subject of a recommendation for amendment, let the arraignment set for today be canceled and deferred to February 18, 2016,” Associate Justice Teresita Diaz-Baldos who leads the court’s Second Division, said.

    The Office of the Ombudsman has filed four counts of violation of Section 8 in relation to Section 11(a) of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees against Padaca for her alleged failure to file her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Network (SALN) for the years 2007 to 2010.

    The court earlier found probable cause to try the cases against Padaca, who is out on bail.

    Interviewed after the hearing, Padaca told reporters that “In fairness to the LP I don’t think they had a hand in the timing of the filing of the case.”

    Padaca, a former Commission on Elections Commissioner, is running in the 2016 gubernatorial race in Isabela.



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