By Mario Casayuran
Opposition Senator Francis N. Pangilinan on Saturday said he is saddened by the decision of the Sandibayanbayan finding former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca guilty of graft and malversation of public funds.
“Nakakalungkot na malaya pa hanggang ngayon ang nangurakot ng milyun-milyong piso mula sa kaban ng bayan habang ipinakukulong ang mga taong tumutulong sa mga kapos-palad nating mga kababayan (It is sad that those who pocketed millions of pesos from the government treasury are still free while the one who helped the poor farmers has been sentenced to jail),” he said.
“Hindi pa tapos ang laban ni Gov. Padaca para sa hustisya. Kaisa mo kami sa hangaring malinis ang iyong pangalan sa mga walang basehang kaso na iyong kinakaharap. (The fight for justice has just begun. We are with you and our objective is to cleanse your name from the case you are facing),” Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party (LP), added.
Padaca, a person with disability (PWD), denied pocketing a single centavo from an alleged anomalous P25-million loan deal for farmers in 2006.
She was meted six to 10 years imprisonment.
The graft court ordered her to return P18 million plus interest to the local government. It also ordered Padaca to suffer the penalty of perpetual special disqualification from holding public office and a fine equal to the amount of P18 million, which is the total amount still due to the Province of Isabela from Economic Development for Western Isabela and Northern Luzon Foundation, Inc. (EDWINLFI).
The P18 million is the amount that EDWINLFI has not yet remitted to the province of Isabela.