DUMAGUETE CITY-- Negros Oriental Governor Roel Ragay Degamo on Wednesday afternoon said he was unfazed by what he described as another attempt by his detractors to remove him from the capitol after being informed that a warrant for his arrest was ordered by the Sandiganbayan.
Degamo said as of press time, he has not received the official copy of the so-called warrant of arrest on the 11 counts of criminal complaints filed against him by June Vincent Gaudan in connection with the alleged misuse of the PHP460-million calamity fund.
However, in the event said order is officially received by him and by his lawyers, he said the normal process would be for him to post the required bail bond for all the eleven counts, just like in ordinary cases.
He said the only difference is that this has been sensationalized because of his position being the governor of the province and that somebody whom he refused to identify could not yet accept the truth that he won the governorship by a very wide margin.
Degamo said his detractors have a timeline and that he already heard two to three weeks ago that a warrant for his arrest will come out anytime this week.
The governor said he is confident the evidence would bail him out, citing the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) that he has no criminal intent whatsoever when he proceeded with the implementation of projects funded by the calamity fund, and that he used it in good faith to protect lives and properties.
Negros Oriental Provincial attorney Richard Enojo said he was caught by surprise when informed that the Sandiganbayan has ordered for the governor's arrest because they have not yet received the decision of their motion for judicial determination of evidence, which was accordingly denied.
Included in the order for Degamo's arrest are provincial accountant Teodorico Reyes and provincial treasurer Danilo Mendez.
Degamo, Mendez, Reyes and Enojo are expected to fly to Manila on Thursday to post the required bail bond as part of the process.
After the posting of the bail, Enojo said procedure would be to hear the propriety in the issuance of a suspension order based on the evidence presented.
Enojo made it clear Degamo's camp wanted the complaints heard by the Sandiganbayan in order for the court to appreciate all the evidence, including the CA decision that the governor did not have any criminal intent in proceeding with the implementation of the projects despite the withdrawal of the SARO because of the emergency situation he was faced at that time and that everything was done in good faith.
Enojo, the provincial administrator who is at the same time the provincial attorney, cited the case of former Bacong Mayor Rudy Yee who was accused of violating provisions of the anti-graft law only to be later on declared innocent.
The same also happened to the former President and now Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Enojo said finding probable cause does not necessarily mean the person accused is already guilty, as there should be trial for the court to appreciate the evidence.
Degamo called on his constituents not to panic, and instead asked for their prayers. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency