• Court grants ex-lawmaker’s plea for separate trials

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    The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division has granted a petition of former Rep. Edgar Valdez of the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) to conduct separate trials for plunder and the graft cases filed against him and several others in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam. Valdez, filed an omnibus motion seeking separate trials citing “apparent differences” between the cases. “In Criminal Case No. SB15-CRM-0008 for plunder, there are only three persons charged in the Information. In Criminal Cases No. SB15-CRM-0009 to 0015, each Information charged different sets of accused, most of whom are not indicted in the criminal case for plunder,” he said in the motion, which was granted in open court on Monday. Valdez was named respondent in the plunder case along with Janet Lim-Napoles, John Raymund de Asis and 26 others also charged with graft. Valdez allegedly received P57.787 million kickbacks from 2004 to 2010 from his PDAF.

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