• Former COA chairman Villar posts bail

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    Former Commission on Audit (CoA) chairman Reynaldo Villar has posted bail, after the Sandiganbayan granted his bail petition.

    Villar is a co-accused in the P366-million plunder suit regarding the alleged misuse of the confidential/intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

    His lawyer Ernesto Altamira 3rd arrived at about 1 p.m. today at the anti-graft court and paid the P1.2-million recommended bail.

    The court’s First Division issued a resolution earlier today penned by Associate Justice Efren Dela Cruz.

    “The Court has yet to see other evidence clearly ascribing upon accused Villar any act through which participation in the questioned transactions may be deduced,” it read.

    Villar, at large since 2012, was arrested last April 24 at his home in Parañaque. The next day he asked the court for bail and he pleaded not guilty in his arraignment on April 30.

    His bail petition was heard on Wednesday, with the defense arguing that he could not be held liable and the prosecution saying he was a flight risk because he had evaded arrest.

    The prosecution argued that the other accused could not have perpetrated the raid of public treasury if Nilda Plaras, former head of the CoA’s confidential/intelligence fund unit, had not issued credit notices/advices despite non-compliance with CoA Circular 2003-002 on the liquidation of those funds.

    Furthermore, Plaras, who was designated by Villar, was acting on his behalf.

    But the court was not persuaded by the prosecution and said that criminal responsibility was personal and one could not be held liable for the act of another.

    “Wherefore, in light of all the foregoing, the petition for bail of accused Villar is hereby GRANTED . . . Upon posting of the said bail and its approval by the Court, accused Villar is allowed provisional liberty unless he can be held for some other legal cause,” the resolution closed.

    Plunder is a non-bailable offense with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

    Still at-large are former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte and former director Ma. Fatima Valdes. Nilda Plaras is currently working as a director at CoA.

    Among the other co-accused allowed bail were former PCSO chairpersons Manuel Morato and Sergio Valencia and former board member Raymund Roquero.

    Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is under hospital arrest, her request for bail denied.

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