Ex-Ilocos Sur guv pleads not guilty

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

FORMER Ilocos Sur governor Luis "Chavit" Singson on Tuesday pleaded not guilty before the Sandiganbayan on graft charges for his alleged questionable use of more than P20-million in public funds in 2001.

Singson, who was arraigned before the Sandiganbayan Third Division, is facing a graft case filed against him and former vice governor Deogracias Victor Savellano for releasing P26.05-million in financial assistance to Multi-Line Food Processing International Inc. (MFPIII) in 2001.

The Office of the Ombudsman said MFPII was not qualified to receive financial aid from the government as it is "a private corporation organized for profit and not intended to advance the interest of a specific cause or sector."

Also in a separate motion, Singson's legal counsel, Francisco Tolentino, asked the anti-graft court to allow the former Ilocos Sur governor to travel to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore from May 11 to 18.

The lawyer said that his client is set to travel using his private aircraft "to attend several business meetings" in the countries mentioned in their petition.

Tolentino also assured the Sandiganbayan Third Division that Singson will return immediately and that he is ready and willing to post a travel bond.

"The intended travel is not the purpose of evading the prosecution of his case as well as the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court," the lawyer added.

The anti-graft court has issued a hold departure order against the former local chief executive last April 25. (Sunnex)

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