• Court orders arrest of Maguindanao gov

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    The Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division has found basis to try the graft, malversation and falsification cases against former Maguindanao OIC Gov. Sajid Ampatuan and six others in connection with the purchase of more than P72 million construction materials for school building repair from allegedly fictitious suppliers in 2009.

    In a resolution dated May 8, the court ordered the issuance of arrest warrants against Ampatuan, then-provincial accountant John Estelito Dollosa Jr., services officer Kasan Macapendeg, who was then-chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) and then-BAC members Osmena Bandila (then-provincial treasurer); Norie Unas (former provincial administrator); Datu Ali Abpi; Al Haj (then-provincial engineer) and Landap Guinaid (former OIC-provincial engineer) who was killed in an ambush in 2016.

    “After perusing the Informations and evaluating the resolution of the prosecutor, the evidence in support thereof, and the records of the preliminary investigation attached thereto, the Court finds that sufficient grounds exist for the finding of probable cause for the purpose of issuing warrants of arrest against the accused charged in the instant cases,” the court said in the minute resolution.
    The warrants for their arrest were dated May 8, 2017.

    The Office of the Ombudsman accused the respondents for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in four occasions for allegedly “conspiring, confederating and mutually aiding each other,” caused “undue injury to the Government|” in the total amount of P72,256,140 “which accused made to appear to have been disbursed for the purchases of construction and lumber materials for the repair of school building within the Province of Maguindanao from” the suppliers when “no such purchase was made” because the suppliers were supposedly “fictitious and/or non-existent.”

    The Ombudsman also filed four malversation cases against the respondents and 137 counts of falsification of public documents.

    Ampatuan and his co-accused were recommended P30,000 bail each for the four counts of graft; P40,000 bail each in the four counts of malversation and P24,000 bail each in the four counts of falsification.

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