• Plaza pleads not guilty to graft case


    Former Rep. Rodolfo Plaza of Agusan del Sur pleaded not guilty to five counts of graft and malversation in connection with the use of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

    Plaza was arraigned on Wednesday along with his former aide Jasper Kapunan and Janet Lim-Napoles before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s Second Division.

    Likewise, Napoles said “Not guilty, Your Honor” to each charge.

    The court, however, entered a not-guilty plea for Kapunan who refused to enter a plea.

    Plaza allegedly received at least P42.1 million in kickbacks by pouring his PDAF to non-government organizations allegedly run by Napoles, which turned out to be non-existent livelihood projects in Agusan del Sur.

    He is also facing two counts of direct bribery, for allegedly receiving a total of P5 million from Napoles.

    Several of their co-accused also pleaded not guilty except for Victor Cacal who, like Kapunan, refused to enter a plea. They were Department of Budget and Management Undersecretary Mario Relampagos and employees Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule and Marilou Bare; Romulo Relevo of National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor), and; National Livelihood Development Cor-poration (NLDC) president Gondelina Amata, NLDC Division chief Gregoria Buenaven-tura, NLDC Director IV Chita Jalandoni, NLDC Chief Financial Specialist Sofia Cruz, NLDC Budget Officer Filipina Rodriguez, and NLDC Cashier IV Ofelia Ordoñez.

    Meanwhile, other accused who remain at large are Napoles’ employee John Raymund De Asis; Nabcor employees Rhodora Mendoza, Maria Ninez Guañizo, and Maria Julie Villaralvo-John- son, and; Nitz Cabilao and Eulogio Rodriguez.

    Also Nabcor President Alan Javellana and one Renato Ornopia have not appeared before the graft court.


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