Former Lanao del Norte Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo has filed a petition before the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division to allow him to post bail for the malversation through falsification case filed against him in connection with the fertilizer fund scam.
In a nine-page Urgent Motion for Bail filed on Monday, Dimaporo cited a recent Supreme Court (SC) ruling that “an accused charged with the complex crime of Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents that involves an amount in excess of P22,000 is entitled to bail as a matter of right, (and) a summary hearing on bail application, is, therefore, unnecessary.”
The defense was referring to a decision by SC en banc in the case of People of the Philippines v. Luzviminda Valdez and the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division (GR Nos. 216007-09).
“Accordingly, and considering that the case at bar…charges accused Dimaporo with the exact, same offense involved in Valdez, it is respectfully submitted that the Honorable Court, irrespective of any and all other proceedings heretofore undertaken and/or of rulings relative to the issue of bail, is now left with no other recourse but to apply the Valdez ruling hereto,” his lawyer argued.
It then asked the court “that he be immediately allowed to post bail as a matter of right in such amount” pursuant to the SC ruling.
In 2013, Dimaporo filed a Very Urgent Motion to Fix Amount of Bail in the said case but was denied by the court last year.
The former lawmaker is accused of misappropriating P5 million in public funds from the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the implementation of the Farm Input and Farm Implementation Program (FIFIP), in conspiracy with officials of the NGO Lanao Foundation Incorporated (LFI).
Undated inspection reports, acceptance reports, physical and financial status reports and list of farmer-beneficiaries were allegedly falsified by making it appear that 10,000 bags of fertilizer were delivered by LFI to his office and distributed when there was allegedly no such delivery and distribution to farmer-beneficiaries.
In denying his request to for bail last year, the Sandiganbayan said that “no amount of protestations and arguments against the charge in the information in this case, as well as discussion of evidence presented before the Office of the Ombudsman, as cited in the motions and pleadings filed by accused Dimaporo, would authorize the fixing of the amount of bail for said accused.”
The court added that to justify the setting of an amount for his bail, there must first be determination by the court that the evidence of guilt is not strong and only after a summary hearing for its purpose.
He entered a plea of not guilty during an arraignment in April 2015.