Villafuerte: Sandigan suspension illogical, absurd

Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte described as “illogical and absurd” the 90-day suspension imposed on him by the Sandiganbayan, insisting that there was nothing he could do to harass witnesses or tamper records in his case.

“It was ostensibly done to ensure that I would not influence the investigation into the charges filed against me when I was still governor. How could I have any influence when I am no longer the governor? Where is the logic in that?” he asked.

Villafuerte also believes that he would eventually be cleared of what he described as trumped-up charges.

“I am confident though that the charges against me would never prosper because the case has no leg to stand on,” he added.

At the same time, he called the sanction – which has yet to be taken up by the leadership of the House of Representatives – as absurd.

“It’s obvious because they suspended me as a congressman when the case involved my stint then as (Camarines Sur) governor.”

Pointing out that should the sanction be implemented, then it would be very unfair because he will not be able to represent his district and serve his constituents, thus depriving them of their needed representation in Congress.

Villafuerte nonetheless takes comfort in what he described as “vindication” following his victory in the May 9 elections.

He said the complaint filed by former provincial board member Carlo Batalla lacked merit, as far as Camarines Sur citizens are concerned.

The graft case stemmed from the alleged questionable deliveries to the provincial government of petroleum products, which he called “baseless” since the Ombudsman had thrown this out already in 2012.

Another complaint for malversation that Batalla filed had been dismissed after graft probers ruled that “control and accountability to (the public fund used for the fuel deliveries) is likewise absent with regard to (respondent) Villafuerte.”

“The elements of misappropriation is not present in this case, the charge of malversation against all respondents must fail,” the Ombudsman stated in its resolution dismissing the case.

Villafuerte said he turned down Batalla’s offer to retract then in exchange for cash.

“This Batalla is clearly an extortionist. He knows that the cases he had filed against me have no basis because the issues involved in his fabricated charges were already settled by the Commission on Audit,” he stressed.


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