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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, March 8, 2012
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Sipalay accuser
facing estafa raps


The Samahang Magdalo member who filed charges before the Ombudsman against Sipalay Mayor Oscar Montilla and 20 others is facing an estafa case and has been issued a warrant of arrest, Tomas Tronco Jr., executive assistant III of the mayor, said yesterday.

Rodolfo Divinagracia, a resident of Sipalay City, had filed criminal and administrative complaints for plunder, malversation of public funds and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act before the Office of the Ombudsman against Sipalay City Mayor Oscar Chua Montilla Jr., and more than 20 others.

In an email message sent to the DAILY STAR, Tronco said the Office of the Sipalay Mayor had issued the information to shed light on the credibility of the complainant against the mayor and 20 others.

In her resolution, Sipalay City Prosecutor Ma. Leila Presaldo found enough evidence to file estafa charges against Divinagracia, following a complaint filed by Esperanza Secula against him for allegedly misappropriating P34,790 that he received from the Sipalay City government as her attorney-in-fact.

Secula said her family were occupants of a parcel of land in Barangay Nauhang, Sipalay, planted with various trees.

Part of the lot was affected by road construction by the Sipalay City government that caused the cutting and removal of some trees that the Office of the Sipaly City Assessor determined to cost P34,790.

The prosecutor said evidence presented showed that Divinagracia was given authority by the complainant to claim payment from the Sipalay City government the amount of P34,790.

The failure of respondent Divinagracia to account for the money raises reasonable presumption that he misappropriated it, the prosecutor said.*CPG

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