BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines – Former Isabela governor Grace Padaca, who is charged with malversation of public funds involving a P26-million hybrid rice program in 2006, has posted P70,000 bail for her temporary liberty.
“I am in touch with my lawyers on my legal option. The last advice I got was that we will be elevating the matter to the Supreme Court,” Padaca said in a text message.
Earlier, Padaca’s fellow respondents – Dionisio Pine, manager of Economic Development for Western Isabela and Northern Luzon Foundation Inc. (EDWINLFI) and councilor Servando Soriano – also posted bail.
As this developed, former vice governor Ramon Reyes defended Padaca, saying there was nothing irregular in the contract.
“She did not benefit from the amount. It was given to the intended beneficiaries through the foundation so it would be quicker to channel it instead of undergoing the bureaucratic process of biddings,” Reyes said.
He said a board resolution and receipts also covered the disbursement. “It can all be accounted for,” said Reyes, who was the board’s former presiding officer when the contract with the EDWINLFI, a non-government organization that implemented the program, was signed.
Former Isabela congressman Santiago Respicio filed the case against Padaca, Pine and Soriano in 2007.
Respicio claimed Padaca had “unjustly favored” EDWINLFI and merely relied on the agreement ratified by the board instead of conducting a public bidding.
The fund was part of the P35-million loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines for the province’s priority hybrid rice program.
– Charlie Lagasca, Raymund Catindig, Michael Punongbayan -