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Surigao mayor says they did not receive financial grant in Enrile PDAF graft case

Bacuag, Surigao del Norte vice mayor Sheila Mae Cebedo on Thursday testified before the Sandiganbayan that the municipality did not receive the financial grant named in the 15 graft charges filed against former senator Juan Ponce Enrile, his former chief-of-staff Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, businesswoman Janet Napoles and others involving Enrile’s discretionary or pork barrel fund.

Cebedo, who was also Bacuag's mayor in 2007 when the supposed transfer of financial grant happened, testified before the anti-graft court in person.

Cebedo’s judicial affidavit, which was adopted as her direct testimony, stated that “Bacuag did not receive financial grants” during the said period.

Rony Garay, the legal counsel for Napoles, called for a stipulation that Cebedo would not be able to produce  documents proving that Bacuag, Surigao del Norte did not receive such grants aside from those attached in her official affidavit including disbursement vouchers and memorandum of agreement.

State prosecutors, led by Zargibran Flores, agreed.

The15 graft cases filed against Enrile and company include allegations of the accused working together to disburse P5 million of Enrile’s pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund as financial grant to Bacuag, Surigao del Norte with the state-run Technology Resource Center/Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) as implementing agencies and non-government entity Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic Development Foundation (CARED), allegedly run by Napoles, as project partner.

The disbursed P5 million supposedly transferred to Bacuag, Surigao del Norte, according to the same criminal information, is broken down to:

  • P4.8 million for financial assistance for tools and implements
  • P50,000 for technical assistance and technology transfer through video courses
  • (VCDs) and printed materials provided by state-run TLRC and
  • P150,000 service fee for TLRC

Also on Thursday, both the prosecution and defense panel agreed on the following:

  • that Cebedo is able to to identify the judicial affidavit, her signature and documents attached thereto
  • that Cebedo won’t be able to testify as to the source of the documents attached to her judicial affidavit
  • that Cebedo does not know if these documents attached to her judicial affidavit indeed came from the accused and
  • that Cebedo cannot testify to the due execution and authenticity of the documents attached to her judicial affidavit

The next hearing has been set for April 11 and every Tuesdays and Thursdays thereon due to the Holy Week break. — BM, GMA Integrated News