Warrant of arrest served on Lanao lawmaker

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Monday, August 5, 2013

LANAO del Norte Representative Abdullah Dimaporo was served with an arrest warrant on Monday at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City over his alleged involvement in the 2004 fertilizer fund scam.

The Sandiganbayan 5th Division served the arrest order on Dimaporo around 11 p.m. The lawmaker has been in the hospital for unknown reason.

Dimaporo and five others were charged for the release of P5 million to a non-government organization, Lanao Foundation Inc., for the purchase of fertilizer under a program of the Department of Agriculture.

The funds were funnelled to the NGO for the distribution of fertilizer and farm inputs.

"However, no such delivery and distribution of fertilizers happened, thereby giving unwarranted benefit, advantage, or preference to LFI and causing undue injury to the government," Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said in a resolution released on October 17, 2012.

Aside from Dimaporo, the Sandiganbayan also ordered the arrest of former Lanao del Sur provincial agriculturist Isabelo Luna and the NGO's officers Felizardo Dragon, Evangeline Ontiveros, Rosalinda Bisenio, and Elmer Sayre. The NGO was allegedly formed by Dimaporo in 1994.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said the House of Representatives cannot prevent the Sandiganbayan from arresting an incumbent member of Congress as Dimaporo's case is a non-bailable offense.

"I don't think we can do anything," he said, likening the case of Dimaporo to the plunder suit filed against detained former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

"His case does not qualify to the constitutional requirement on lawmakers' immunity from arrest because the punishment is more than six years," House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)

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