North Cotabato governor to be tried for graft

MANILA, Philippines – North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño Mendoza will be going to trial for 3 graft charges filed against her by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan junked Mendoza's Motion for Judicial Determination of Probable Cause due to lack of merit. 

Mendoza was charged in April with 3 counts of violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices law, but she argued that there was no evidence or basis for the Ombudsman to find probable cause against her.

According to the Ombudsman, Mendoza approved the release of P2.4 million to pay for 49,526.72 liters of diesel fuel used by a provincial government-owned road grader and 4 dump trucks for a 2010 road repair project.

The Ombudsman said Mendoza did not conduct a bidding for the purchase of the fuel, instead awarding the contract to the Taliño Shell Station owned by her mother.

Mendoza explained, however, that “only the Taliño Shell Station was willing to accommodate the credit term requested by the provincial government.”

In her motion, Mendoza claimed she did not hand-pick her mother’s gas station. Instead, the supplier was recommended by the provincial government’s bids and awards committee (BAC), which noted that the Taliño Shell Station made the most advantageous offer.

The court disagreed, based on information filed and records from a preliminary investigation.  (READ: Court orders arrest of North Cotabato governor)

While the deal did not cause injury to the government, the court said, it "does not prohibit her prosecution under the same provision on the ground that she extended unwarranted benefit, advantage, or preference to the said gas station.” – Rappler.com