Former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca has been found guilty by the Sandiganbayan of misuse of public funds and graft in connection with granting P25 million to a private entity for the rice program of Isabela.
Padaca, who was present during the promulgation, said she didn’t expect the verdict because she said she didn’t steal from the coffers of the government.
The anti-graft court ordered Padaca, a polio survivor, to pay P18 million in fine to the Isabela government for the granting of the P25-million contract to the Western Isabela and Northern Luzon Foundation, Inc. (EDWINLFI) for the implementation of Isabela’s rice program, even though the Provincial Board did not approve the Memorandum of Agreement between the two parties.
Nevertheless, Padaca maintained that the agreement was above-board because the Provincial Board granted her the authority to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) with EDWINLFI and provided proof of it along with proof that the farmers benefited from the programme.
Padaca was sentenced by the Sandiganbayan to 12 to 14 years in prison for her conviction of malversation, in addition to six to 10 years in prison for her conviction of graft.
For her temporary freedom, the court set Padaca’s bail at P140,000—double the value of the P70,000 bail she had previously posted. She had 10 days to post it.
Padaca said she was prepared for a long legal battle to overturn her sentence despite her guilt.
Padaca was a recipient of the 2008 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Good Governance and is one of the founders of Kaya Natin, a movement for good governance.
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