Ex-Iloilo governor Defensor Sr., ex-mayor told to answer graft raps

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The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has directed former Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. and former Lemery Mayor Ligaya Apura to submit their counter-affidavits to the criminal and administrative cases filed by former provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada.

Mejorada had accused Defensor and Apura of misusing funds amounting to P1.48 million for the repair and rehabilitation of barangay roads in the Lemery town this year.

Defensor illegally transferred funds from the maintenance and other operating expenses account of the Provincial Engineer’s Office for the “gravelling, re-gravelling and rehabilitation of barangay roads” for five barangays in the municipality, he alleged.

In a two-page order, Deputy Ombudsman Paul Elmer Clemente directed the accused to file their counter-affidavits and controverting evidence within the 10-day period.

The Ombudsman has docketed the cases as OMB-V-C-19-0158 and OMB-V-A-19-0191.

For the criminal case, Defensor and Apura are charged for illegal use of public funds or property, violation of Section 3 (e) of RA 3019, and falsification of public officer, employee or Notary or Ecclesiastic Minister.

Administratively, Defensor and Apura are accused of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.