The antigraft court Sandiganbayan has recalled the arrest warrant it issued last week against former Camarines Sur Gov. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte after he posted a P90,000 bail for three counts of graft.
The court’s fifth division ordered the arrest of Villafuerte and his coaccused, businessman Jeffrey Lo, proprietor of Naga Fuel Express Zone, on Friday.
The Sandiganbayan Security and Sheriff Services Office has sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation to serve the same warrant against Lo, who has yet to post bail.
Villafuerte and Lo were charged with graft in connection with the purchase of petroleum products valued at P20 million without public bidding.
Villafuerte, in previous statements, had denied any wrongdoing in the fuel supply deals.
The charge sheets showed that Villafuerte bought the petroleum products in three tranches in 2010: a release of P5 million on Jan. 22; another P5 million between Jan. 7 and 23; and another P10 million on April 7.
The purchase contracts were reportedly made even without full delivery in past supply contracts.
According to complainant Carlo Batalla, Villafuerte purchased the petroleum products from Lo between January and April 2010. Batalla added that while the provincial government had not yet consumed the fuel, Villafuerte continued to purchase more.
The Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause to indict the two on the ground that the transactions were approved without public bidding.
Villafuerte ran for a House seat in the second district of Camarines Sur but lost to reelectionist Rep. Dato Arroyo, youngest son of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Villafuerte had been conditionally arraigned before he traveled abroad last year. The cases have been set for preliminary conference.
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer