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Bank fraud charges: Radaza refuses to enter plea

CEBU, Philippines - Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza did not enter a plea during the arraignment yesterday in relation to the bank fraud charges filed against her.

Instead, Judge Teresita Galanida of Regional Trial Court Branch 56 in Mandaue City entered a not-guilty plea on behalf of Radaza.

Lawyer Anzen Dy, Radaza’s legal counsel, told reporters that they still have questions on the charges filed against his client. 

“The mayor intends to file a petition before the Court of Appeals in relation to the absence of a complete and valid preliminary investigation,” Dy said.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas filed criminal charges against Radaza for allegedly taking part in creating fictitious loans amounting to P2.6 billion when she was the president of the defunct Rural Bank of Subangdaku Inc.

Efrain Pelaez, Jr., a known critic of Radaza who ran against the latter for the mayoralty post twice but lost, was present during the arraignment.

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Pelaez, a businessman, said former RBSI depositors came to him and asked for help.

“I believe this should be a much bigger case. We are here to see what is happening, make sure the justice is done for the depositors,” he said.

Pelaez said he was surprised that the case Radaza is facing is not a “syndicated estafa case.”

“You will notice that there so many cases in different courts always all the same facts and they have violations of reporting sa Central Bank dunay depository accounts ug uban,” he added.

Prior to the start of the arraignment yesterday, The Freeman and members of the media received a text message stating “NEWS ALERT: Mrs. Paz Radaza has just arrived at RTC Branch 56 Mandaue near Park Mall for her arraignment in the Rural Bank of Subangdaku plunder case. Pls cover.”

However, in a separate text message sent by Jonji Gonzales, head of the Lapu-Lapu City Public Information Office, he clarified that Radaza’s case was not “a plunder case.”

The message reportedly came from Pelaez’ camp.

“This is clearly a DECEPTION. The case against the mayor is NOT plunder,” said Gonzales.

Gonzales added that the issue has nothing to do with Radaza as a mayor of the city.

“Peddling this lie to the media is not just deception but an insult to the public who deserves to know the truth. Pelaez is simply desperate,” Gonzales added.  (FREEMAN)

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