Sandiganbayan affirms court order vs ex-Cebu lawmakers, five others over GSP fund mess
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan has junked the motions for reconsideration that former Cebu representatives Clavel Martinez (Fourth District), Paz Radaza (Lapu-Lapu City), and five others filed in hopes of reversing the court’s decision that convicted them for misappropriating public funds intended for the Girl Scouts of the Philippines – Cebu Council (GSP-Cebu).
The Sixth Division of the Sandiganbayan, in a resolution promulgated last October 12, denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Clavel, Radaza, as well as current Provincial Board member and Association of Barangay Captains – Cebu Federation (ABC-Cebu) president Celestino “Tining” Martinez III, Rhodariza Kilantang, Crescencio Verdida, Julieta Quiño, and Maria Cielo Martinez.
The state’s anti-graft court said the respondents’ motion for reconsideration lacked merit.
“The Court has painstakingly taken a second hard look at the issues raised by accused-movants. Nonetheless, no substantial and compelling reason warrants the modification, much less the reversal, of the Court’s peremptory conclusion,” portions of the ruling stated.
The 21-page ruling was signed by Associate Justice Kevin Narce Vivero.
Sought for his comments, Tining told CDN Digital that his camp will be taking the case to the Supreme Court.
“We have already had foreseen this coming so we are set on filing our appeal to the SC,” said Tining in a text message.
Reporters are currently trying to reach out to Radaza for her comments as of this posting. The former lawmaker has since maintained her innocence in the case.
It can be recalled that in May 2022, the Sandiganbayan convicted Clavel, Radaza, and eight other respondents for graft and malversation over misappropriating P24.4 million in public funds from Clavel’s priority development assistance fund (PDAF).
The case started in 2002 after 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. It was discovered that the said funds went to the bank account of the former legislator.
All eight accused 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.
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