By Ma. RL Tolentino/ Manila Times
The Sandiganbayan’s Third Division has convicted former Isabela governor Maria Gracia Cielo “Grace” Padaca of graft and malversation.
She is also fined P18mn with imprisonment and penalised with perpetual disqualification from public office.
In a decision promulgated yesterday morning, the court sentenced Padaca from 12 up to 14 years in prison in the malversation case with a fine.
Padaca was sentenced from six up to 10 years in prison for graft.
“I received neither a peso nor a centavo from that P25mn. I got nothing because the money went to the farmers of Isabela. We all know how they suffered,” she said in part in an interview after the promulgation.
“I did not enter into a memorandum of agreement without the authority of the Provincial Council. They gave me the authority to enter a memorandum of agreement,” the former governor added.
Padaca, who can still file a motion for reconsideration or appeal the decision, must post additional bail within 10 days starting yesterday to continue enjoying provisional liberty.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed the cases before the Sandiganbayan in 2011.
The Ombudsman alleged that in 2006, the services of a non-government organisation were directly contracted to manage, administer and implement the Provincial Rice Programme of Isabela, particularly the Supervised Credit Facility.
It alleged that the memorandum of agreement dated January 8, 2006 was not ratified until after January 31, 2007. Padaca was a former Commission on Elections commissioner, a recipient of the 2008 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service and the co-founder of the “Kaya Natin!” movement.
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