Sandiganbayan orders arrest of ex-DA chief

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MANILA, 6Dec2013 (PNA) – The Sandiganbayan on Thursday issued a warrant of arrest against former Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary Luis Ramon Lorenzo, Jr.

The arrest warrant was in connection with the graft charges filed against Lorenzo on the alleged anomalous implementation of the swine program under the DA and the Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corp. (Quedancor).

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales earlier ordered the filing of graft charges against Lorenzo and 11 officials of the Quedancor and Metro Livestock Incorporated in connection with the implementation of the Quedancor Swine Program (QSP).

In a resolution dated July 12, 2013, Morales found probable cause to indict Lorenzo, Quedancor president and chief executive officer Nelson Buenaflor, Quedancor Governing Board members/representatives Wilfredo Domo-ong, Romeo Lanciola, Nellie Ilas and Jesus Simon for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“[I]nput supplies amounting to P47,465,614 were not delivered to the borrowers as of year-end 2005 despite the advance payment therefore by the Quedancor to the I[nput] S[uppliers],” the resolution said, citing the Commission on Audit report.

Also charged for violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 were Rhomady Bernabe, Quedancor regional assistant vice president for regional office no. 4, along with Metro Livestock general manager Joel Salazar, Metro Livestock incorporators/directors Excel Salazar, Francis Edison Peña, Teresa Adille and Santiago Baldado.

The resolution found Metro Livestock was allowed to participate in the QSP even if it failed to comply with the accreditation and eligibility requirements such as the two-year prior operation, and the necessary license from the appropriate government agency like the Livestock Development Division of the Bureau of Animal Industry.

Quedancor awarded purchase contracts in the form of purchase orders to Metro Livestock in the amount of P48,606,750 in Mindoro province alone, despite it having a paid-up capital of only P62,500.

However, the formal complaint was filed before the Sandiganbayan only last November.

Nevertheless, the other accused in the case have appeared before the Sandiganbayan, hence, they were not included in the arrest warrant. (PNA)

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