Rep. Art Yap posts bail over PDAF scam cases, but denies wrongdoing

Bohol Third District Representative Arthur Yap has been allowed by the Sandiganbayan to post bail, as he faces twin charges stemming from his approval of the transfer of money from the pork barrel funds of congressional representatives.

But Yap had vehemently denied the allegations, saying he never did any wrongdoing.

The Sandiganbayan has allowed Yap to post bail on his alleged misuse of the pork barrel funds of former Misamis Occidental First District Rep. Marina Clarete back in 2009.

The bail was set at P300,000.

The Sandiganbayan, the country’s anti-graft court, allowed Yap’s counsel motion to fix bail. This comes as the Ombudsman recommended no bail for the crime of malversation through falsification.

Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang questioned why the prosecution kept on saying “no bail recommended” when the Supreme Court has decided in December 2015 that the charge is a bailable offense.

The court set bail for one count of malversation though falsification at P200,000.

Prosecutors recommended P60,000 and P40,000 on top of the P300,000 for the two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and one count of malversation of public funds, respectively.

The court, however, denied the motion made by Yap’s camp to dismiss the cause on the grounds of lack of probable cause. The court also denied the motion of the suspension of criminal proceedings.

Yap was named Clarete’s co-accused in four of the 36 criminal charges filed against her.

Meanwhile, the Third District Congressman was named as co-defendant on another pork barrel case this time from the Priority Development Assistance Fund allocation of former Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo W. Antonino in 2007.

This is the second wave of criminal charges filed against the former DA Secretary this month.

The charges were for two counts of graft and malversation of public funds with bail bonds set at P30,000 for each count of graft and P40,000 per case of malversation.

The Ombudsman okayed the filing of the cases back in June 14.

Yap got involved in the charges since he participated in entering into a memorandum of agreement with Nabcor to implement Antonino’s PDAF-funded projects.

The former agriculture chief, Yap, on Friday denied his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam that resulted in graft and malversation charges against him filed before the Sandiganbayan.

In a statement sent to the media, the Third District Congressman said he never transacted with the bogus foundation concerning the lawmakers’ PDAF when he was still DA Secretary.

He said he was merely transferring funds from the pork barrel allocation of the congresspersons to government agencies given the task to implement the project as provided by law.

“No matter how many cases they file against me, the facts will not change: I never transacted with any NGO for legislator’s PDAF. I only transferred PDAF to another Government Agency for implementation as allowed under law,” Yap said.

Yap said the two cases were earlier dismissed by the Ombudsman. Yet, he was caught by surprise why the Ombudsman still filed the two batches of charges involving pork barrel allocations of two congresspersons against him.

“The Ombudsman has found me innocent in two cases already. I wonder why they are suddenly changing their theory,” Yap said. (Dave S. Albarado)

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