MANILA — Former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes on Tuesday entered a “not guilty” plea before the Sandiganbayan over the alleged misuse of PHP1.53-billion of Malampaya funds.
Reyes entered his plea before the Sandiganbayan Second Division against the 36 counts of violation of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”, after his alleged involvement in a series of construction projects in 2008.
Of the 36 counts, 11 are for violation of Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019 for his alleged “conspiracy” with private individuals in the “irregular bidding” of Malampaya.
Likewise, the 22 counts are for violation of Section 3(g) of RA No. 3019 when he allegedly entered into 22 contracts which were not needed by the provincial government of Palawan.
The remaining three counts are for violation of Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019 for allegedly approving 11 disbursement vouchers for the payment of three projects without the proper documents.
Aside from Reyes, 39 other respondents are facing the same number of charges.
Reyes was earlier sentenced to suffer the penalty of six to eight years’ imprisonment after the Sandiganbayan found him guilty of graft for the anomalous renewal of small-scale mining permits in 2006.