Thursday, February 20, 2014

Citizens Crime Watch lauds Sandiganbayan over LRay graft case

Citizens Crime Watch and Association of Volunteer Lawyers Against Corruption Press Conference in Naga City
Citizens Crime Watch and Association of Volunteer Lawyers Against Corruption Press Conference in Naga City
(PHOTO: BICOL STANDARD)
NAGA CITY— “The war against corruption is not yet over,” stressed former Camarines Sur board member and Citizens Crime Watch (CCW) Secretary General Carlo Batalla, when asked about the progress of the cases filed against former governor Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte.

Batalla said that while the CCW and the Association of Volunteer Lawyers Against Corruption (AVLAC) are rejoicing over the decision of the Sandiganbayan that issued the arrest warrant against the former governor, he emphasized that said case is no longer their group’s focus at present.

Rather, they have centered their attention on a plunder complaint which involves a P100 million budget used for the 2011 Ad Congress.

He said that in this complaint, the respondents will face a non-bailable charge, which would serve as a deterrent for grafters.

PHOTOS: Citizens Crime Watch Press Conference in Naga City

Apart from LRay Villafuerte, he also impleaded five provincial board members in the complaint.
The complaint, which was filed on July 1, 2013, alleges:

“The disbursements of the Province related to the hosting of the CV 2011 Philippine Advertising Congress amounting to more than P100 million pesos were not in its approved Annual Investment Plan (AIP)/Local Development Plan (LDP). These resulted to the non-implementation of various Programs/Projects/Activities (PPAs) that were prioritized and approved by the Provincial Development Council (PDC) and were embodied in the AIP/LDP.”

READ: Full text of the plunder complaint filed by Carlo Batalla against L-Ray Villafuerte

Renewed call

The other lawyers from CCW and AVLAC, meanwhile, reiterated the group’s advocacy to fight corruption.

CCW founder and chairman Atty. Jose Malvar Villegas, who is a direct descendant of national hero General Miguel Malvar, for one, took time to lament at corrupted state of society.

“We have to declare independence from this culture that treats criminals as babies,” Villegas expressed.

Atty. Ariel Joseph Arias, Atty. Frumencio Pulgar, and Atty. Pete “Bitay” Principe echoed the CCW chairman’s sentiment.

Said Frumencio, “There is no anomaly in the government that does not deserve exposure.”
Among the group’s future plans is a website for whistleblowers where citizens can send them information about corrupt practices in government offices.

Villegas reminded the audience that Bicolanos can lead the nation in the fight against corruption, having already proven their bravery when Bicol became one of the first regions to join the revolution against Spain, and more recently, to topple former president Ferdinand Marcos from his post.

DON'T MISS: Sandiganbayan Resolution ordering LRay Villafuerte's arrest

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