Sorsogon execs cleared of graft over bank loan
Cet Dematera (The Philippine Star) - February 19, 2015 - 12:00am

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has cleared the governor, vice governor and board members of Sorsogon of graft charges filed against them in 2012 in connection with a P350-million loan with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).

In a decision promulgated on Jan. 5, a copy of which was obtained yesterday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales dismissed the complaint against Gov. Raul Lee, Vice Gov. Antonio Escudero Jr. and Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) members Rebecca Aquino, Eric Ravanilla, Angel Escandor, Bernard Hao, Nelson Maraña, Dave Duran, Benito Doma, Arnulfo Perete and Patrick Rodigueza, saying no evidence was presented to prove allegations of irregularity against them.

Carpio also dismissed the charges filed against LBP officials Banadict Manzanades and Renato Eje.

Former provincial board member Vladimir Frivaldo alleged that the officials conspired with LBP officials in obtaining the loan, which he said was “illegal, grossly detrimental and disadvantageous” to the provincial government.

“In the absence of proof of malice or intent to defraud the province of Sorsogon, the evidence tilted in  favor of the respondents who were shown to have acted independently of each other in the performance of their respective functions,” the ombudsman ruling stated.

The ombudsman also dismissed the administrative case against the respondents, saying there was no clear allegation or documentary evidence to prove their “disposition to lie, cheat, deceive or defraud the government or deliberately commit a wrong.”

ANGEL ESCANDOR ANTONIO ESCUDERO JR. AND SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN ARNULFO PERETE AND PATRICK RODIGUEZA BANADICT MANZANADES AND RENATO EJE BENITO DOMA BERNARD HAO DAVE DURAN ERIC RAVANILLA LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES NELSON MARA OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
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