By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has denied the motion for reconsideration of former Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary William Padolina to suspend the proceedings of his graft case.
Padolina, in his capacity as Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Board member is facing graft charges along with former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap for violating Section 3(e) and (g) of the Anti-graft and corrupt practices act.
“At the onset, accused Padolina offers no compelling reason to warrant a reversal by this court of its earlier resolution.” The anti-graft court said Padolina’s “motion is simply a rehash of the arguments raised in his motion to suspend proceedings…which this court has already passed upon.”
Padolina elevated his case before the Supreme Court with a petition for certiorari and was asking the Sixth Division to suspend proceedings until the SC has ruled on his petition.
Since there is no temporary restraining order (TRO) or Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued by the SC in relation to Padolina’s petition for certiorari, the Sandiganbayan saw no basis to suspend the proceedings.
The charges against Padolina and his co-accuse stemmed from a car plan from 2008 to 2009 that allowed several employees to obtain personal loans amounting to P15.8 million from the Philippine National Bank (PNB) for the purchase of private cars.
Hold Out Agreements (HOA) were signed to enable the PhilRice Car Plan, even though it subjected “PhilRice’s deposit with PNB to the agreement that said deposit will not be withdrawn until the car/personal loans guaranteed are paid in full amounting to P15,780,000,” their charge sheet read.
The private cars were even leased by PhilRice for the official use of all the beneficiaries despite the fact that they were still entitled to transportation allowances.
As a result, PhilRice was not able to utilize its deposits with PNB during the subsistence of the loans and its failure to obtain the best possible car rental deals, among other things.
Similarly charged aside from Padolina are PhilRice Board of Trustees members Johnifer Batara, Fe Laysa, Winston Corvera, Gelia Castillo, Senen Bacani, Rodolfo Undan, Executive Director Ronillo Beronio and Cashier Fe Lumawag.