Former Rep. Martinez, 7 others convicted of graft, malversation of funds

By: Futch Anthony Inso - Multimedia Correspondent - CDN Digital | May 19,2022 - 08:21 PM
Former Bogo Mayor Martinez III, 6 others convicted of graft, malversation of public funds. In photo is a gavel.

Inquirer.net file photo

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines — Eight personalities, who were involved in the alleged misappropriation of the P24.4 million priority development assistance fund (PDAF) of former Cebu 4th District Representative Clavel Martinez, which was intended for the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP)-Cebu Council, were convicted of graft and malversation of public funds.

A Joint Decision of Sandiganbayan Sixth Division, which was signed by Associate Judges Kevin Narce Vivero, Sarah Jane Fernandez, and Karl Miranda, convicted the former legislator, former Rep. Clavel Martinez; former Bogo City Mayor Celestino Martinez III; Cresencia Verdida; Rhett Minguez; Rhodariza Kilantang; Lapu-Lapu City Lone District Representative Paz Radaza, who was then the GSP-Cebu Council treasurer; Julieta Gonzales Quiño and Maria Cielo Martinez.

ֵClavel and Celestino were convicted of three counts of graft and three counts of malversation, including Minguez, Verdida, Kilantang, and Quiño. 

They were sentenced to jail terms ranging from 18 to 30 years on all counts of graft and were ordered perpetually disqualified from holding any public office. Their retirement benefits were also forfeited.

They were also sentenced to 24 to 51 years of imprisonment for the three counts of malversation convictions.

Radaza was also found guilty of two graft and two malversation charges, while Maria Cielo Martinez, daughter of Clavel, was convicted of one graft and one malversation charge.

Excluding Marie Cielo, they were ordered to pay a fine of P14.4 million for two malversation convictions. They were also jointly and severally held liable to reimburse the government, through the Bureau of Treasury the amount of P14.4 million.

While Clavel, Celestino, Minguez, Verdida, Kilantang, Quiño, and Maria Cielo were ordered to pay a fine of P10 million each in one malversation conviction.

The case started in 2002, wherein the court found that the accused misused the P14.4 million PDAF of Clavel that was intended for the anti-illegal drugs campaign of GSP-Cebu.

But it was found out that the said funds went to the bank account of the former legislator.

On June 13, 2002, Clavel withdrew through an LBP cheque payable to cash worth P7.5 million. On the same day, the amount was deposited to the GSP Cebu Council. 

Clavel simultaneously gave the GSP Cebu Council P400,000, which was deemed as a donation.

The court also found out that on September 18, 2002, Clavel once again withdrew through another LBP Check, this time payable to her, worth P7.5 million. She then gave another “donation” of P200,000 to the GSP Cebu Council.

“All things considered, it is abundantly clear to this court that all the accused herein conspired with accused Clavel A. Martinez and are therefore adjudged guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Malversation of Public Funds,” the Joint Decision read.

Radaza, for her part, insisted that she was innocent in the case and that she was only performing her job as GSP-Cebu Council’s treasurer.

She said that she even investigated the incident.

“Sa tinud-anay, wala ko kasabot sa desisyon. Nakapirma ko sa cheke kay mao ang akong trabaho isip Tresurera. Kini gibuhat nako human nga nasusi nako nga adunay igong pondo, ug para kini sa maayong tumong – ang Anti-Drug Campaign,” Radaza said in a statement posted on her Facebook page.

(In truth, I don’t understand the decision. I signed the check because that is the work of the treasurer. I did this after I checked that there is enough funds and this was for a good cause — the Anti-Drug campaign.)

Radaza admitted that she was saddened by the decision of the Sandiganbayan and that she would be filing a motion for reconsideration.

“Gitrabaho na sa akong mga abogado ang lakang nga angayng buhaton. Sa pinaka-daling panahon, mo-file ko og Motion for Reconsideration para mapatugbaw ang akong pagka-inosente. Sigurado ko sa akong kasing-kasing nga mahukman ko puhon nga walay sala niini kay nisalig ko nga ng kamatooran ang kaluwasan,” she added.

(My lawyers are woring on the steps that we need to take. In the soonest time possible, we will file a motion for reconsideration so that my innocence would be proven. I believe deep in my heart that I will be judged as being innocent in this because I believe in the truth.)

Meanwhile, in a text message from Board Member Martinez, he said that their lawyer will also file a motion for reconsideration.

“Decision isn’t final yet and our lawyers will file a motion for reconsideration,” Martinez said.

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TAGS: Cebu‬, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, former Cebu 4th District Representative Clavel Martinez, graft, Kilantang, malversation of public funds, Martinez, misappropriation of the P24.4 million, motion for reconsideration, PDAF, Priority Development Assistance Fund, Quiño, Radaza

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