Baraan, aide face graft raps over alleged bribery
MANILA - Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III and his former administrative administrative assistant are now facing graft charges before the Ombudsman for allegedly taking bribes.
Baraan, meanwhile, said he will file a perjury case against his accuser.
Jerramy Joson filed the graft complaint against Baraan and his former assistant, Paula Blanche Garcia, before the Ombudsman.
Joson used to be a close friend of Arnel and Jenny Manaloto. Arnel Manaloto is a lawyer of the Ampatuans.
In 2013, Joson provided information on the wealth amassed by Manaloto. Manaloto is accused of being a dummy owner of eight of accused Andal Ampatuan Jr.’s properties in Davao City.
The lawyer is now facing a tax evasion case at the Department of Justice after the Bureau of Internal Revenue said he had undeclared income of at least P20 million.
Joson recently revealed to ABS-CBN News a notebook containing a list of names - many of whom are government prosecutors, with dates and corresponding amounts of money. Joson said the notebook is owned by the Manaloto couple.
Photocopies of six pages of the Manaloto notebook have been attached to the graft complaint filed against Baraan and Garcia.
In her graft complaint, Joson said a certain Malou Garcia said she could help Joson in a case she filed against Manaloto. Garcia claimed to be close to Undersecretary Baraan.
She said Garcia even claimed that Manaloto also paid bribes to get a favorable ruling in his cases.
In April 2013, when she filed for a petition to review the car theft case she filed against Manaloto, Garcia quoted a price of P600,000 in exchange for a favorable ruling from the DOJ.
"Dahil close kami, kalahati lang ang babayaran mo. Kailangan mong magbigay ng six hundred thousand pesos (P600,000) para makakuha ng resolusyong pabor sa iyo," Garcia allegedly told Joson.
A year later, Joson said she agreed to meet Garcia twice at the Quezon Memorial Circle for the delivery of the bribes.
She said she agreed to pay Garcia in two installments, with the remaining P100,000 to be paid upon receipt of a favorable decision on her case.
On June 26, 2014, ABS-CBN News was at the preliminary investigation of an illegal detention case Joson filed against Attorney Manaloto.
It was the day Joson said she also visited Baraan.
Joson said she was worried because she was no longer receiving any communication from Garcia.
Baraan received her in his office and had this response when told about her payment to Garcia.
"Ginawa na namin ang trabaho namin. May draft na yan kaso hindi pa napipirmahan. Anong magagawa ko kung hindi pa napipirmahan."
Joson was told to return another day to follow up her case. She no longer heard from Garcia.
It was only later that she realized that Garcia is Paula Garcia, the administrative assistant of Baraan.
Meanwhile, Baraan promised to get back at his accuser and expose her as a fraud.
"Kung sino ka man, I will expose you for what you are - a total fraud. Think of this, yung affidavit complaint ay under oath. You will be answerable for perjury," he said in an ABS-CBN News interview.
He also said Joson's case never passed through his office. "Magkita na lang tayo sa Ombudsman!"
Joson said it was only when she saw private prosecutor Nena Santos on Bandila talking about her suspicions of bribery at the DOJ that she remembered a notebook left with her by the Manaloto couple.
The couple had long been wanting to get back the notebook and other documents, even allegedly offering money. But after slapping her and her family with cases and threats, Joson fought it out in court.
"This notebook is the cause of all the cases that was filed against me and my family. I just realized the importance of the notebook as a list of money given to the people in DOJ in exchange of a favorable resolution just like what they did to me," Joson said.
The trouble between Joson and the Manaloto couple began in October 2012 when they asked her to put into safekeeping plastic bags of documents when their car was stopped at a checkpoint in Subic.
When the documents were not immediately returned to them, the Manalotos stormed her house, which Joson has not returned to until a recent visit with ABS-CBN.
Joson also claimed Attorney Manaloto allegedly poked a gun at her 11-year-old son and forcibly took her two cars.
In January 2013, her parents' house nearly burned down from attempted arson.
"Atty. Arnel Manaloto has been demanding the return of this notebook from me. Aside from filing and inciting others to file cases against me and my family, he burned our house," she claimed.
Joson said she, her brother, her common law husband and her parents have been dragged to court, fighting a total of 14 cases.
Maciste Bonita, Joson's common law husband and a senior hydraulic technician who works abroad, was also slapped with a hold departure order and can't work.
ABS-CBN tried to get the side of Attorney Manaloto but he canceled his appointment arranged through his lawyer.
As for Joson, she hopes an investigation into the notebook will help end her nightmare.
"Ang gusto ko lang lumabas ang katotohanan. Kami ay simpleng tao lang at simpleng mamamayan pero ganito ang nangyayari. How much more pa po yung talagang malalaking kaso. Kilalanin lahat ng taong nakasulat sa notebook. Kayo na po bahala mag-imbestiga lahat ng nakasulat duon," she said.