• Court orders arrest of ex-Iloilo governor

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    The Sandiganbayan has ordered the arrest of former Iloilo Governor Niel Tupas Sr. and three others over a graft case filed early this month.

    The case stemmed from the alleged payment of the province’s unconsumed electricity bills totaling P4,007,111.91 to the firm Green Core Geothermal from December 2009 to April 2010.

    The court’s ‘s fifth division found probable cause to try Tupas and former Provincial Accountant Lyd Tupas, former Assistant Department Head of the Provincial Accountant Sandra Bionat, and former Department Head of General Services Ramie Salcedo.
    The respondents were also barred from leaving the country.

    On September 15, the defendants filed a motion asking the Sandiganbayan to defer the issuance of arrest warrants and their arraignment because they filed a petition for certiorari with a petition for a temporary restraining order at the Court of Appeals (CA).
    They also asked the appellate court to cite the Ombudsman for contempt for filing the graft charges without first waiting for the CA to act on their petition.

    “[W]hat the Office of the Ombudsman did was a high handed legal strategy akin to a rapiers thrust was to immediately file the information [charge sheet]against the petitioners for the intention of making the TRO prayer moot and academic,” the defendants said.

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