Ex-PCSO official asks court to let him post bail

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LEFT in the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center as two of his co-accused are already out on provisional liberty, an accused in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) P366-million intelligence fund controversy is asking the Sandiganbayan to fast-track the resolution of his bail petition.

Benigno Aguas, former budgets and accounts manager of charity agency, moved in a seven-page motion that the favorable ruling that the anti-graft court applied to his three co-accused should be also granted to him.

On June 6, the Sandiganbayan First Division allowed former PCSO president Sergio Valencia and board members Manuel Morato and Raymundo Roquero to post bail worth half a million for the first two and P700,000 for Roquero for hiding before surrendering himself to the police.

According to the court, the Office of the Ombudsman failed to present strong evidence against the three to keep them behind bars. Valencia and Roquero were both detained at the PNP Custodial Center together with Aguas. Morato was under hospital arrest in St. Luke’s Medical Center.

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Aguas was not part of the June 6 ruling.

Arguing for his case, Aguas’ lawyer David Domingo said that the Sandiganbayan is correct when it found lack of conspiracy between the three freed accused and former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte.

Aguas told the court that he only held a “lowly” position and that it was just “ministerial” for him to certify the availability of funds, considering the requests were already approved by his superiors.

“The herein accused has no choice and thus no reason why he should not certify to the availability of funds,” he said, adding that the ruling on the three accused should be applied to him.

“What is good for the goose is good for the gander,” he said.

He added that his certification of the cash vouchers “may be considered a violation of the cash advance limitations . . . but that is an entirely separate offense which was not part of the charge of plunder.

John Constantine G. Cordon

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