A FORMER Negros Occidental governor, who has been charged with graft in 2001, denied media reports that he was arraigned before the Sandiganbayan recently.

“I regret being used to trial by publicity by some media personalities,” former governor Rafael Coscolluela.

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The case is in connection with Coscolluela’s alleged irregular purchase of P20 million worth of medical and farm equipment in May 2001 during his last term as governor.

“I have been praying for this for eight years and I am hopeful that the case will be resolved,” said Coscolluela is now the administrator of the Sugar Regulatory Administrator.

Coscolluela is seeking reelection in the May 10 elections.

Enrique D. Rojas, president of the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters Inc., in a statement said Coscolluela “is the kind of person who will face squarely the charges against him to prove his innocence.”

“As outgoing SRA administrator and as candidate for governor of the province, he should clear his name so that his fellow Negrenses can favorably consider his candidacy,” he said.

Rojas also said that Coscolluela should take positively the Sandiganbayan decision to set the graft case against him for trial. “This is his golden opportunity to prove his innocence once and for all in the proper court of law.”

The anti-graft court earlier junked Coscolluela’s plea to dismiss charges filed him for lack of merit. Also charged were former provincial health officer Ernesto Malvas, special projects management office head Edwin Nacionales and Jose Maria Amugod.