Former Isabela governor Maria Gracia Cielo “Grace” Padaca is facing charges before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly failing to file her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Network (SALN) from 2007 up to 2010.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed four counts of violation of Section 8 in relation to Section 11(a) of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees on Tuesday afternoon.
In the charge sheets, Assistant Special Prosecutor Karen Funelas accused Padaca of “willfully, unlawfully and criminally” failing to file her SALNs for the years 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 “in utter disregard of her official obligation.”
Under the law, all government officials and employees must submit their SALNs on or before April 30 of every year.
It is a declaration made under oath of assets (lands, houses, cash), liabilities (personal or institutional loans) and business and financial interests of a government official or employee, of his or her spouse, and of his or her unmarried children under 18 years old who are living in their parents’ households.
Last May, the office found probable cause to file the charges before the Sandiganbayan alleging in a statement that Padaca failed to file her SALNs within the deadline set by the law.
The Ombudsman cited the Commission on Appointment Profile and Investigation Report and the certification issued by the Human Resource Department (HRD) of the Office of the Provincial Administrator of Isabela.
Padaca had denied the accusation, saying that “she was surprised upon being informed by the HRD that only her SALNs for 2004 and 2006 were on file.”
But the office found it difficult to believe that she did not try to get a copy of her SALNs from 2007 to 2010, which she supposedly transmitted to the department.
“It is difficult to fathom how respondent would be unfamiliar with such a practice or that she has not altogether adopted this procedure given her lengthy stint in government service,” it added.
The office recommended P10,000 bail for the defendant’s provisional freedom.