Ex-Agusan del Norte mayor pleads guilty to lesser offense

Published March 11, 2019, 5:01 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Czarina Ong-Ki

Former Buenavista Mayor Percianita Racho of Agusan del Norte has pleaded guilty to a lesser offense to her graft charge in relation to the fertilizer fund scam.

Racho was initially slapped with violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for allegedly conspiring with private individual Lucio Lapidez of Feshan Philippines Inc. (FESHAN), and purchasing 2,000 bottles of Bio-Nature Organic Liquid Fertilizer at P1,500 each without public bidding from April to August 2004.

As a result, P3 million worth of public funds was released to FESHAN even though the market price for the fertilizers was only P125 each. This caused undue injury to the government amounting to P2,750,000.

When the case was called out, Racho, through her lawyer Henry Filoteo, moved that her earlier plea of not guilty be changed to guilty, provided that it be for a violation of Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code or Failure to Render Account instead of graft.

The prosecution gave its consent, so the anti-graft court found her guilty for Failure to Render Account and sentenced her to pay a fine of P6,000.

Meanwhile, the case against her co-accused has been archived since Lapidez has remained at large.