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Ex-Palawan Gov Reyes charged with graft


Mario Joel T. Reyes, former provincial governor of Palawan who is one of the accused in the death of broadcaster Gerry Ortega, has been slapped with a graft charge before the Sandiganbayan in connection to the fertilizer fund scam.

Reyes, together with Department of Agriculture officials Rodolfo M. Guieb, officer-in-charge, regional technical director; Dennis B. Araullo, regional executive director and Masaganang Ani Para Sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. (MAMFI) President Marina C. Sula and representative Nathaniel U. Tan, are facing the charge for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer I Karla Maria F. Barrios said that the accused conspired and confederated with one another sometime in 2004 when they gave MAMFI unwarranted benefits and privileges by approving the procurement of 3,240 bottles of liquid fertilizer without public bidding.

Reyes reportedly approved Disbursement Voucher No. 2004-5 1804 dated May 26, 2004 and released the amount of P3,250,000. It was encashed at the Land Bank of the Philippines that same day.

Reyes made it appear that MAMFI was a qualified non-government organization to implement the DA’s Farm Inputs and Farm Implements Program (FIFIP). He also made it seem like MAMFI submitted all documents necessary for its implementation, when in truth, MAMFI was not qualified to be accredited as project implementer since it did not submit complete documents required for its accreditation.

Their recommended bail bond has been set at P30,000 each. (Czarina Nicole O. Ong)