By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, (April 19) — Members of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of this town who are facing charges of graft and corrupt practices posted bail today at Branch 62 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) here.
Respondents Romeo Salda, Jim Botiwey. Henry Kipas, Arthur Shontogan, Roderick Awingan, Horacio Ramos JR., Estrella Adeban, Francis Lee, Von Ryan Tauli, and Robert Namoro paid P15,000 each, a total of P150,000.
Vice Mayor Salda said in an interview that they did not wait for the warrant of arrest to arrive.
They voluntarily went to the RTC and requested the bail bond be lowered which was approved. Originally he said, the bail bond was P30,000 each but it was decreased by 50%.
Salda added that the money they used for the bail came from their personal funds. “The receipt were given individually,” he said.
This writer asked his opinion regarding the case, he said “Anyway, it is already in court, we will just wait for its deliberation.”
On March 31, the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office found probable cause on the graft and corrupt practices case filed by Jimmy Laking, a writer and columnist of a regional paper against them.
Laking on December 21 last year was declared persona non grata in the SB hall through a resolution unanimously approved on 1st reading by the council. This was because of the allegation of the SB that Laking “violated media ethics and standards.”
Laking, according to them misquoted members of the council on several occasions. Moreover, they said, “propagated misleading information and mistrust, discord and chaos among the members of he council and the general public because of his repeated infidelity to his profession”.
Moreover, the said resolution was published at the expense of the SB in the Baguio Midland Courier.
Prosecutor’s office then considered Laking’s claims that “the actions of the SB has accused, convicted and sentenced him to be persona non grata with out even informing him’. Moreover, he asserts that his reputation, record, goodwill and the name as a journalist and a resident of La Trinidad were destroyed”. # nordis.net