The Sandiganbayan has issued three warrants of arrest against former Maguindanao Governor Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan in connection with an allegedly anomalous P72-million school building project, according to the anti-graft court.
Copies of the orders released to media on Tuesday, May 16, said Justice Rodolfo Ponferrada of the 6th Division ordered the arrest of Ampatuan on 137 counts of falsification of public documents, four counts of malversation of public funds and four counts of graft.
Ponferrada ordered a P3.5 million bail bond for Ampatuan’s temporary liberty.
The 6th Division also ordered the arrest of Ampatuan’s six co-accused — John Estelito Dollosa Jr., Kasan Macapendeg, Osmena Bandila, Norie Unas, Datu Ali Abpi, Al Haj, and Landap Guinaid.
The 6th Division said it found “sufficient ground” to find probable cause in issuing an arrest warrant against the respondents.
The Ombudsman accused the respondents of allegedly causing undue injury to the government in the amount of a total of P72.26 million when they made it appear that the money had been used to buy construction and lumber materials for the school building repair.
The Ombudsman said the amount was paid to four suppliers:
Andong Lumberyard and Construction Supply (P16.96 million);
Nasser Lumberyard and Construction Supply (P16.48 million);
Ismael Lumberyard and Construction Supply (P12.22 million); and
Usman Lumberyard and Construction Supply (P26.57 million).
However, the Ombudsman alleged that
there was actually no purchase, as the the suppliers were “fictitious and/or non-existent.”
The Ombudsman also charged the same respondents with four counts of malversation of public funds for “feloniously” taking, misappropriating or appropriating into themselves the said public funds.
The Ombudsman also said the respondents made false statements in 137 disbursement vouchers dated from February to September 2009 by making it appear that a total amount of P67.69 million were paid to the four construction suppliers for the purchase of construction and lumber supplies.
But there can be no such purchases, the Ombudsman said, as the construction suppliers were “fictitious and non-existent”.