Ex-Governor Raul Lee 40 years alone in prison; 2 co-accused, dead, acquitted


By Bicol Today News Team

SORSOGON CITY – It is a maximum of 40 years Sorsogon ex-Governor Raul Lee shall spend his life in prison. If not, a minimum of 24 years for him to stay in jail.

This is the sentence the Sandiganbayan on Friday imposed, during the conviction of former Governor Lee on 4 counts of graft, and meted him with six- to 10-year prison terms for each of the four counts filed against him in connection with the purchase of overpriced fertilizers in 2004.

Worse, the former Governor would suffer alone the humiliating life behind bars as his co-accused, provincial accountant Raul Hernandez, had died before the Sandiganbayan handed down its decision.

Included in the Sandiganbayan decision is the order for Lee to pay the Sorsogon Provincial Government P2.59 million in damages.

“It was all in accused Lee’s hand, from the procurement to the payment of the subject fertilizers,” the Sandiganbayan summed up, in a capsule, the extent of Governor Lee’s involvement in the overpriced fertilizer deal.

Lee would be perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

But, the anti-graft Court acquitted another co-accused, former provincial treasurer Ofelia Velasco, of all charges on the ground of reasonable doubt, and lifted the hold departure order against her.

The Sandiganbayan’s First Division found Lee and former provincial accountant Hernandez guilty of two counts each of violation of Section 3 (e) and Section 3 (g) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act by purchasing fertilizers at “unconscionable” prices.

Lee, and the two officials accountant Hernandez and treasurer Velasco, had been accused of causing undue injury to the Government by approving the purchase of 2,133 liters of Bio Nature Liquid Fertilizer for P1,500 per liter from supplier Feshan Philippines Inc. The court, however, said the market price of the fertilizer, at that time, was only P180 per liter.

In a related report, the Lee family informed the public that they respect the decision of the Sandiganbayan, but hinted that there are still legal remedies available for them.

“It was all accused Lee’s hand from the procurement to the payment of the subject fertilizers. On the other hand, accused Hernandez … aided accused Lee in the release of the funds from the province of Sorsogon’s treasury to Feshan Phils. Inc.,” the decision read.

The court said the accused failed to justify the direct purchase of fertilizers from the supplier at an “unconscionable price of more than 500 percent of the same product, or at least 900 percent more of the suitable substitutes.”

However, treasurer Velasco could not be blamed for certifying the availability of cash for the fertilizers, “because, indeed, there was an available allocation for the expense,” the court said. [BicolToday.com]

Related Story: Sandiganbayan convicts Sorsogon Ex-Governor Raul Lee on 4 counts of graft

Posted by on August 21, 2017. Filed under Bicol News,Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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