Feb 13, 2020 @ 8:30

Ombudsman clears Nancy Catamco in P2.7M fertilizer scam case after belatedly hearing her side

The Ombudsman has dismissed the graft complaint against Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco over the alleged misuse of P2.69-million fertilizer funds in 2005, after it belatedly heard her side.

It said there was a lack of evidence of Catamco’s participation in the transactions of Perzebros Company, which she co-owned with her then-husband Pompey Perez.

The resolution, signed by Assistant State Prosecutors Rayman Rafael and Tirso Vargas, was issued in compliance with the Sandiganbayan 4th Division’s September 26, 2019 directive for the Ombudsman to conduct a preliminary investigation only with respect to Catamco.

Catamco had been indicted before the Sandiganbayan last year without having the chance to submit her counter-affidavit. Hence, the court ordered the Ombudsman to go back to the preliminary investigation stage.

With Catamco being given the chance to be heard, the Ombudsman found that the only evidence against her was the Articles of Partnership for the company.

Aside from the said document, there was “no other proof on record that even tends to show that Catamco personally participated in the transaction, or otherwise authorized the participation of Perzebros.”

“The circumstances that the Articles of Partnership named Perez as a partner and its General Manager alone does not suffice as a prima facie evidence to support the finding that a probable cause exists against her, much less that she conspired with here co-respondents,” the resolution added.

Catamco was not actually a public official at the time of the transaction; she was charged as a private individual.

The case concerned various irregularities in the purchase of fertilizers by the municipal government of Lazi, Siquijor, then led by Mayor (and now Provincial Board Member) Orville Fua.

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