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Monday, March 11, 2013
ANOTHER daily yesterday bannered the story regarding the standing warrant of arrest against former vice gov. John Gregory “John-john” Osmeña for his alleged involvement in the Perdido Lex Foundation anomaly. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is one of the law enforcement agencies tasked to arrest Osmeña.
John-john, the only son of former senator John “Sonny” Osmeña, has been out of the political limelight since his defeat by suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia in the 2004 elections. He now lives in Denver, Colorado with his mother Lucy Urgello.
The report said the Sandiganbayan has issued a warrant of arrest against Osmeña to compel him to explain his role in the Perdido Lex Foundation, which was found to be bogus. The foundation allegedly siphoned off some P5 million from the Capitol’s coffers. The amount was intended for the purchase of computer units for public schools in the province. This happened during the watch of former governor now Second District Rep. Pablo Garcia.
The Provincial Board approved a resolution accrediting the foundation as a nongovernment organization. Former board member Victor Maambong, who headed the committee on accreditation, was also indicted in the case together with incorporators, which included a helper of John-john.
Capitol department head and Provincial Accountant Marieto Ypil was also indicted. NBI agents arrested him last week. Some legal expert said the elder Garcia should have also been charged because he signed the memorandum of agreement between Capitol and the foundation, which was represented by a certain Milagros Herrera. The former governor even signed the MOA before the accreditation was given, according to the resolution. But he was exonerated by the ombudsman, which investigated the anomaly.
I am a little bit confused about John-john’s status in connection with the case.
Somebody furnished me with a copy of the decision of the Sandiganbayan Third Division that cleared John-john and his helper Veronica Caceres of any criminal liability. The anti-graft court’s 18-page resolution dated Jan. 21, 2013 was signed by Presiding Justice Francisco Villaruz Jr., Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Alex Quiroz. I found the copy of the decision authentic.
The dispositive portion states: “Wherefore premises considered, this court, after a thorough and extensive scrutiny of the records, finds insufficient reasons to continue with the prosecution of both accused John G. Osmeña Jr. and Veronica Ceceres (aka Veronica Caceres). Hence the instant case, insofar as against them are concerned, is, as it is hereby ordered dismissed.”
The cash bail bond posted by accused Caceres was likewise ordered released and returned to her. The court also ordered the lifting of Osmeña’s hold departure order.
Osmeña was represented in this case by Cebu’s topnotch lawyer, Honorato Hermosisima Jr.
Unsa ba gyuy tinuod ani? Dunay warrant of arrest or absuwelto na si John-john?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 12, 2013.