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Mindoro gov files admin complaint vs Sandiganbayan justice

Jul 16, 2015 @ 10:22

Mindoro Oriental Governor Alfonso Umali has filed an administrative complaint against Sandiganbayan Justice Jose Hernandez for allegedly demanding P15 million from him in exchange for being acquitted in a graft case.

Umali said he was eventually found guilty of the charges because he refused to give in to the magistrate’s demand for P15 million.

The governor filed his case before the Supreme Court. Hernandez chairs the anti-graft court’s Fourth Division.

In his complaint-affidavit, Umali accused Hernandez of grave misconduct constituting to violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and gross ignorance of the law.

Umali recounted that before his April 20 guilty verdict, his camp was approached by a certain Ruel Ricafort, who claimed to be very close to Justice Hernandez and his wife.

“Indeed it was clearly emphasized to me that Mr. Ricafort is a cousin of the wife of Justice Hernandez. It was further relayed that if I wanted to be acquitted, all I needed to do was pay P15 million to Justice Hernandez,” Umali revealed.

Saying the offer was a “one-time offer,” the supposed intermediary told Umali to either “take it or leave it.” The governor said he turned down the offer, and not long after he was convicted by the anti-graft court.

The graft case against Umali stemmed from the passage of Resolution No. 284-93 in 1994 authorizing then Oriental Mindoro Gov. Rodolfo Valencia to enter into a Credit Agreement extending a loan of P2.5 million for the operation of MV Ace, which intended to ply the Calapan-Batangas Batangas-Calapan sea route.

The Fourth Division ruled that Umali, Valencia and former Board Member Romualdo Bawasanta conspired with each other with “evident bad faith” and “manifest partiality” to illegally award a P2.5-million loan agreement to a certain engineer, Alfredo Atienza, in 1994.

They were all sentenced to imprisonment of up to 10 years. The three, however, have filed their respective motions for reconsideration.

Umali suspected that he became a “target” of Hernandez because he was the brother of Rep. Reynaldo Umali, whom the governor said was “partly responsible” for the dismissal of another Sandiganbayan justice, Gregory Ong.

Umali claimed Hernandez and Ong were “good friends.”

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