Former Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupas Sr. will be arraigned on a graft charge next month in connection with the alleged payment of the province’s unconsumed electricity bills that costs about P4 million.
The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division, which is handling the case, issued an order stating that Tupas post P30,000 cash bail bond on Monday for his provisional liberty.
“In view thereof, the Order of Arrest dated September 16, 2015, issued in this case is hereby lifted and declared of no further force and effect in so far as accused Niel D. Tupas Sr. is concerned,” said the order dated September 21.
“Let the arraignment of said accused be set on October 21, 2015 at 8:30 o’clock in the morning,” it closed.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed the charge last September 9, which stemmed from the alleged payment of the province’s unconsumed electricity bills totaling P4,007,111.91 to Green Core Geothermal from December 2009 to April 2010.
Later, the court found ground to proceed to trial and ordered the arrest of Tupas and his co-accused then Provincial Accountant Lyd Tupas, then Assistant Department Head of the Provincial Accountant Sandra Bionat, and then Department Head of General Services Ramie Salcedo.
The four defendants earlier filed a request before the Sandiganbayan to defer their arraignment pending a petition for certiorari (review) with a petition for a temporary restraining order, which they filed before the Court of Appeals in August.
The anti-graft court has given the prosecution 10 days from Monday to comment on the matter.