Sandiganbayan postpones Padaca arraignment

By Atom Araullo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 18 2012 09:42 AM | Updated as of Oct 18 2012 09:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPADTE) - The Sandiganbayan has granted the request of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Grace Padaca for the postponement of her arraignment on graft and malversation charges.

The anti-graft court has reset the hearing to November 29.

Justice Rolando Jurado, chairman of Sandiganbayan's Fifth Division, and Associate Justices Alexander Gesmundo and Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, approved the request.

Padaca's camp has a pending petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) before the Supreme Court.

The two cases filed against her when she was still Isabela governor stemmed from a contract she awarded to non-government organization Economic Development for Western Isabela and Northern Luzon Foundation Inc. (EDWINLFI) allegedly without public bidding for the operation of a credit facility for rice farmers back in 2006.

The anti-graft court recently recalled an arrest warrant for Padaca, a Ramon Magsaysay awardee in 2008, after she posted a P70,000 bail.

Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, who earlier accompanied Padaca to court, said the money used to post bail on both the graft and malversation charges came from President Benigno Aquino III's personal funds.

In an interview after the hearing, Padaca reiterated that the case was nothing more than a harassment bid by her political opponents in Isabela.

She also assured the public of her independence as a new commissioner of the poll body, despite her perceived closeness to President Aquino and the ruling Liberal Party.

Padaca said this will be proven in the following days when the Comelec releases their decision on the disqualification of some party-list groups.