Ex-Cebu lawmaker, mayor get 83 years

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star

Over pork barrel scam funneled through Girl Scouts

MANILA, Philippines — Former Cebu fourth district congresswoman Clavel Martinez and her son Celestino III, former mayor of Bogo City, have been convicted of graft in connection with the pork barrel scam and sentenced to up to 83 years in prison.

In an 86-page decision promulgated on Tuesday and released yesterday, the Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division said Martinez and her son were found guilty of three counts of violation of Section (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and three counts of malversation of public funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.

The two former local officials were sentenced to 18 to 30 years in prison for three counts of graft and 28 to 53 years for the three counts of malversation.

Former municipal treasurer Rhett Minguez, former municipal accountant Cresencio Verdida, former Girl Scout of the Philippines (GSP)-Cebu Council bookkeeper Rhodariza Kilantang and cashier Julieta Quiño were found guilty of the same offenses.

Martinez’s daughter, former Bogo vice mayor Maria Cielo Martinez, was found guilty of one count each of graft and malversation. She was sentenced to 14 to 27 years in prison for both offenses.

Maria Cielo was the treasurer of GSP-Cebu when the crime was committed.

Former GSP-Cebu treasurer Paz Radaza was found guilty of two counts each of graft and malversation and was sentenced to 32 to 54 years in prison.

The court also ordered the forfeiture of the retirement benefits of the convicted former local officials.

Martinez, Celestino, Minguez, Verdida, Kilantang and Quiño were ordered to pay a fine of P24.4 million each and jointly reimburse P14.4 million to the government.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2012 and 2014, the cases stemmed from the release of P24.4 million of Martinez’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to GSP-Cebu in 2002.

The funds were supposed to be in support of the anti-drug campaign of  GSP-Cebu.

However, the ombudsman said investigation showed the funds were only funneled through the GSP account and withdrawn by the GSP officials.

Graft probers said the released amounts were later traced to Martinez’s personal bank account.

“All the accused conspired with and extended aid to accused Clavel A. Martinez in the execution of all acts, necessary and indispensable in the attainment of her furtive design to gain unwarranted benefit out of her PDAF allocations and thereby defraud the government,” the decision read.


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