Court lets NBI keep evidence against Visayan Forum

A+
A
A-

A lower court has sided with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in its bid to keep evidence it had seized from the Visayan Forum, a nongovernment organization, based on a complaint by the United States government.

In a four-page decision, Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Ma. Lourdes Giron ordered the NBI’s Anti-Graft Division (AGD) to retain custody of the boxes of evidence against VFFI president Ma. Cecilia Flores-Oebanda and its other officials.

The AGD headed by Rachel Angeles filed falsification of documents charges against the VFFI officials based on the complaint of Daniel Altman, special agent in charge of the [Europe and Asia] Office of the Inspector General-USAID, the testimony of two whistle-blowers and the boxes of falsified documents seized in a raid on the VFFI office in Cubao, Quezon City.

Angeles said at least P200 million of P300 million that came from USAID remained unaccounted for.

“There are no valid grounds for the quashing of the subject search warrant because it has complied with the requirements laid down by law,” Giron said.

Giron said “the judge who issued the search warrant found that probable cause exists to issue a search warrant and that violation of Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code has been committed.”

Giron said that before issuing the search warrant, “the presiding judge personally examined under oath the applicants, lawyer Dennis Villasfer and lawyer Erickson Donn R. Mercado of the NBI-AGD, together with their witnesses”.

Giron said that after serving the search warrant, a return of search warrant with motion to retain custody of seized items was filed by Mercado and Villasfer.

The judge said that along with the motion corresponding receipts and an inventory of the property seized were submitted.

Giron also denied the motion to quash the search warrant filed by VFFI against the NBI.

“In view of the foregoing, the urgent motion to quash the search warrant is hereby denied,” Giron said.

The VFFI filed a motion to quash the search warrant for the raid on VFFI headquarters in Cubao in September and asked the court to order the NBI to return all the documents taken in the raid.

The NBI has recommended the prosecution of Oebanda and other VFFI officials in the Department of Justice after its investigation showed that around P200 million in donations funneled to the VFFI could not be accounted for.

The NBI also recommended the filing of charges against VFFI directors, finance officers, bookkeepers and other employees.

The VFFI provides education, shelter and psychological help to victims of trafficking.

It receives funds from international donors like USAID, the US Department of State, Bill Gates Foundation and Starbucks.

Angeles said the NBI probe established that the order to manufacture the fake receipts came from the VFFI president.

Oebanda has denied the accusations and pointed to the whistle-blowers as the real culprits of the fraud. Nancy C. Carvajal

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • DakuAkongUtin

    Let the axe fall where it may. Thieves lurk in every corner , speak and dress in different forms. They speak in tongues and say, i love you Lord , but their intentions are not of God. You will know them by their inner workings.

  • kanoy

    HUH? VFFI President Oebanda has denied the accusations and pointed to the whistle-blowers as the real culprits of the fraud.  ?>> Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code>>Article 172. Falsification by private individual and use of falsified documents. – The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine of not more than P5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon:

    1. Any private individual who shall commit any of the
    falsifications enumerated in the next preceding article in any public
    or official document or letter of exchange or any other kind of
    commercial document; and
    2. Any person who, to the damage of a third party, or
    with the intent to cause such damage, shall in any private document
    commit any of the acts of falsification enumerated in the next preceding
    article.
    Any person who shall knowingly introduce in evidence
    in any judicial proceeding or to the damage of another or who, with the
    intent to cause such damage, shall use any of the false documents
    embraced in the next preceding article, or in any of the foregoing
    subdivisions of this article, shall be punished by the penalty next
    lower in degree.
    HUH? VFFI President Oebanda is saying these 2 intentionally first stole $200 million of the $300 million that he was in control of WITHOUT his knowledge then took the time to FALSIFY BOXES=numerous, of fake papers FORGING his signature (EASY TO PROVE WITH HAND WRITING EXPERT) then willfully intentionally brought it all to light and committed PERJURY as well,,,,,uh huh sure

  • Barrabass

    Hah, ganyang-ganyan din ang isang tekton bdo sa up na P8milyon ang utang sa mga taga-holland. mga kristiyano daw sila…mga manloloko!

  • simplewatcher

    Once in court they don’t plea guilty or not guilty,they just stay quiet and let the high court decide and finally the answere is not guilty .For not entering a plea.

  • tukmoldinako

    buti naman nahuli ka ng di ka pamarisan, kakahiya talaga ang pinoy , USAID and other donors, matagal na tayong ganito at wala atang napupuntahan ang mga ganito, ninanakaw lang.

    ikulong yang mga yan, sarap ng buhay nila milyon milyon un accounted wow.

  • jaygibi

    sigurado isisi na naman ng mga yellowtards ito kay GMA..

  • pfc_kulapu

    PDI why can’t you elaborate, What is really the VISAYAN FORUM ? Which group they appellate.. Who’s there Leader and background?

    PDI YOUR HIDING SOME DETAILS…IS IT MEAN YOU ARE PROTECTING SOME GROUP CREDIBILITY…..For the information to everybody…VISAYAN FORUM is front organization by COMMUNIST headed by Former Amazon…

  • joboni96

    ‘at least P200 million of P300 million that came from USAID remained unaccounted for’

    napaka hina na naman itong usaids na ito

    tapos gagamitin ang nbi
    para manghuli

    tulad din sa mga

    1. financial criminals nila sa amla
    2. software nila
    3. mga pelikula kay rickets

    pinapasa sa atin kahinaan nila
    pumapayag naman mga collaborators sa gobyerno

    visa pera lang yan

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94

editors' picks

advertisement

popular

advertisement

videos