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Sandiganbayan orders arrest of Misuari, 3 others

By CZARINA NICOLE ONG

The Sandiganbayan Third Division has ordered that warrants of arrest be issued against former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Nur Misuari and his co-accused for their graft and malversation through falsification charges in connection with the reportedly anomalous purchase of different educational packages and materials from 2000 to 2001.

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction leader was earlier slapped with three graft and malversation through falsification charges together with Director III Leovigilda P. Cinches, chief accountant Pangalian Maniri, supply officer Sittie Aisa Usman, and accountant II Alladin D. Usi, all from Department of Education (DepEd) – ARMM.

Commission on Audit – ARMM Resident Auditor Nader Macagaan, CPR Publishing owner Criseta D. Ramirez, and White Orchids president Lolita P. Sambeli were also charged.

They were accused of misappropriating funds of the DepEd-ARMM worth P115 million by means of falsifying requisition vouchers, purchase orders, and other similar documents.

They reportedly made it appear that the DepEd-ARMM procured the said educational materials when in truth, no such procurement was made because there were no goods delivered.

The accused filed their own motion for judicial determination of probable cause and deferment of issuance of warrants of arrest, as well as deferment of further proceedings.

They argued that the Ombudsman failed to establish any conspiracy among them, and that their right to speedy disposition of cases was violated.

But in an 18-page resolution signed by Associate Justice Sarah Jane Fernandez and concurred by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez, the court found that there is probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest for the accused.

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