Negros Oriental guv surrenders, posts bail at Sandiganbayan


NEGROS Oriental Governor Roel Degamo surrendered to the Sandiganbayan Friday after his arrest order for malversation and graft charges came out early this week.

The case stemmed from the P480-million calamity funds that were allegedly misused in 2012.

Degamo confirmed that he posted P1.115-million bail after the Sandiganbayan approved his request for reduction of bail.

Bail was originally set at P2.23 million – P200,000 for each of the 11 counts of malversation and P30,000 for one count of graft.

Degamo's co-accused, Provincial Treasurer Danilo Mendez and Provincial Accountant Teodorico Reyes, also posted their respective bail bonds on Friday.

The governor said they will file a motion for reconsideration before the Sandiganbayan and seek the dismissal of the case.

He was optimistic that the case would be dismissed as there was “no criminal intent” on their part.

The calamity fund was used to rehabilitate infrastructure facilities damaged by Typhoon Sendong in December 2011, and by the 6.9-magnitude earthquake in February 2012.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) later withdrew the Special Allotment and Release Order due to non-compliance with the guidelines for infrastructure projects, but Degamo and the others still proceeded with the projects.

As a result, the Commission on Audit (COA) issued 11 notices of disallowance.

Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, who penned the decision dated January 24, said “the interest of the COA is solely administrative, and that its investigation does not foreclose the Ombudsman's authority to investigate and determine whether there is a crime to be prosecuted for which a public official is answerable."


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