It took twelve years for the Sandiganbayan First Division to pen the conviction of former Sorsogon governor Raul R. Lee of four counts of graft for the purchase of overpriced fertilizers worth PhP3.2 million.
Although, Lee is among the first officials to be charged and later convicted for their involvement in the PhP728-million fertilizer fund scam – the elusive justice is remain to be served to the children of Esperant and to the toiling farmers in the country.
The anti-graft court has convicted the former Sorsogon governor of two counts of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for giving undue benefit to Feshan Philippines without public bidding and causing injury to government, as well as two counts for violating Section 3(g) for entering into a contract disadvantageous to the government, beyond reasonable doubt – the former governor is still a small fry.
The PhP728-million fertilizer funds that will provide the poor farmers with fertilizers, irrigation, seeds, education and training, loans and post-harvest facilities was diverted by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to his personal campaign funds, in which Raul Lee was among her favored political ally back then.
Be that as it may, Lee is still the sacrificial lamb in the diverted PhP728 million fertilizer funds because former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap and Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante were still off the hook.
Worst, former president Arroyo was cleared of wrongdoing as far as the Fertilizer Scam is concern..
On the pursuit of justice for the death of Marlene Garcia-Esperat, the trial of the masterminds of her death – Osmeña Montañer and Estrella Sabay should still to be pursued in court as they remain at-large.
The fight against corruption and impunity should be sustained in all fronts and collective vigilance is still an imperative to fight and watch the collusion of politicians and gun-for-hires in threatening the freedom of the press.
The collective acts of courage and patriotism can save lives and inspire integrity to government employees in serving the people – as Marlene Garcia – Esperat fought against the misuse of taxpayer’s money by exposing abuse and fraud inside the Department of Agriculture, although she lost her life at the age of 45 – the fight must continue.
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