Ex-COA chief posts bail for plunder case

Posted at 05/09/14 4:34 PM

MANILA -- Former Commission on Audit chair Reynaldo Villar, one of the accused in the alleged plunder of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds, has posted bail.

Villar's lawyer Ernesto Altamira said his client posted a bail of P1.2 million at the Sandiganbayan after the anti-graft court allowed his bail plea. Plunder is a non-bailable case.

Altamira said his client will be released anytime this afternoon.

Villar earlier entered a not guilty plea in the plunder charge against him in connection with the alleged irregular use of a P366 million PCSO fund. He was arrested on April 24 after about two years in hiding.

Villar's co-accused in the case include former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former PCSO chairman Sergio Valencia, former PCSO vice chairman and general manager Rosario Uriarte, members of the PCSO board of directors Manuel Morato, Jose Taruc V, Raymundo Roquero, and Ma. Fatima Valdes, former PCSO budgets and accounts manager Benigno Aguas, and former head of COA's intelligence/confidential fund audit unit Nilda Plaras.

In filing the plunder case, the Office of the Ombudsman noted the respondents' acts "form a pattern, not only of misuse and raid of PCSO's CIF (confidential/intelligence funds) from 2008-2010, but also of illegal conveyance or disposition of cash advances disbursed therefrom, all the while taking advantage of their respective official functions."

Last April 1, Taruc also posted a bail of P1 million for his temporary liberty.

Taruc surrendered to the police last March after almost two years in hiding.

The Sandiganbayan had granted bail to Valencia, Morato and Roquero in June last year. – with a report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News