20 of 54 accused in pork barrel scam post bail

20 of 54 accused in pork barrel scam post bail
The other accused Graft suspects Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos (left), TRC head Dennis Cunanan (centre) post bail. Revilla's coaccused, Richard Cambe (right), who surrendered to the antigraft court, leaves for the PNP Custodial Center.

Twenty of the 54 people accused in the pork barrel scam-related graft cases posted bail in the Sandiganbayan on Friday to avoid arrest.

Former Technology Resource Center (TRC) Director General Dennis Cunanan paid in cash the full bail of P210,000 (S$5,980) for all seven counts of graft he faces in three divisions of the antigraft court.

Cunanan, who tried but failed to be taken in as state witness in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, faces four counts of graft in the Sandiganbayan's First Division as coaccused in Sen. Bong Revilla's case, two counts in the Third Division as Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile's coaccused, and one count in the Fifth Division as Sen. Jinggoy Estrada's coaccused.

The bail was set at P30,000 for every count of graft.

Three other TRC personnel also paid in full for their bail in the First Division, which handles the consolidated plunder and graft cases against Revilla.

Marivic Jover paid P120,000 for four counts of graft; Francisco Figura P120,000 for four counts and Consuelo Espiritu P90,000 for three counts, all in the First Division.

Four other accused asked the First Division for reduced bail, pleading they were mere government employees. The court agreed.

The bail of Revilla's coaccused Chita Jalandoni of the National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) was lowered to P90,000 from P210,000 for seven counts of graft. She was the first to post bail and she paid in cash.

Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos and three Department of Budget and Management (DBM) employees were given a 50-per cent discount so each paid P240,000 for 16 counts of graft.

Napoles' children

Two grown-up children of principal pork barrel scam accused Janet Lim-Napoles and five of her employees posted surety bonds at the First Division before the close of office hours on Friday.

Jo Christine Napoles and James Christopher Napoles appeared in the Third Division, which is handling the consolidated cases against Enrile, and posted a surety bond of P450,000. Each is facing 15 counts of graft.

Napoles' employees Nitz Cabilao posted a surety bond of P450,000; Fernando Ramirez, P450,000; Jesus Castillo, P30,000; Dorilyn Fabian, P60,000, and Renato Ornopia, P90,000.

They left the Sandiganbayan at past 5 p.m.

Their surety bonds were covered by Alpha Insurance and Surety Co. and Far Eastern Surety and Insurance Co. Inc.

The accused paid the insurance company a fraction of the total bail amount, but they cannot be reimbursed if they are acquitted.

Bail paid in cash bonds will be reimbursed in full if the accused are acquitted.

Two out of the country

More people accused of graft in the pork barrel scam are expected to post bail in the coming days.

Two of them were out of the country when the Sandiganbayan issued an order to stop them from traveling on Monday.

In an interview with reporters on Friday, Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison identified the two as Antonio Ortiz and Renato Ornopia.

Ortiz is the former director general of TRC and Ornopia is an employee of Napoles' JLN Corp. and president of one of her bogus foundations through which lawmakers' allocations from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) were channeled to finance phantom rural development projects.

"We are still verifying when they left the country, if it was this year or in 2010," Mison said.

He said the Bureau of Immigration was also checking 15 names in its database that appeared to be the same in the hold-departure list issued by the antigraft court.

"We have to check because we are not sure that the names given by the Sandiganbayan are the same people whose names appear in our database," Mison said.

He said the immigration bureau had asked the Department of Foreign Affairs for information on the people on the Sandiganbayan list for comparison.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that in the case of those who had left the country, "we will invoke the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the country where they are hiding."

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