Thursday, April 14, 2016

Sinulog dancers, Lanete supporters offer thanksgiving mass for Masbate gov’s release
By Norman B. Tamar

MASBATE CITY, April 14 (PNA) -- The Sinulog dancers of the provincial government of Masbate, grand slam winner in the Cebu Sinulog Festival celebrations since Governor Rizalina Seachon-Lanete headed the province, and her supporters on Wednesday offered a Thanksgiving Mass for her temporary liberty.

Nine similar masses will also be held starting Thursday.

Lanete had been in the Female Dormitory of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig until the Sandiganbayan early Wednesday issued a release order for her following a grant on her petition to fix bail.

The Sandiganbayan's Fourth Division cited weak evidence of guilt in granting the bail petitions of Lanete, former Masbate representative.

The anti-graft court set bail at Php500,000 for Lanete.

Radio dzMM, however, reported that Lanete paid a total of Php830,000 -- Php500,000 for the plunder charge and Php330,000 for 11 counts of graft.

Lanete is charged with plunder and 11 counts of graft for allegedly misusing Php112.29 million of her Presidential Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel from 2007-2009.

Plunder is a non-bailable offense punishable with reclusion perpetua, but bail may be granted if there is no strong evidence of guilt.

The Sandiganbayan said the grant of bail to Lanete "is not indicative of acquittal as their cases are still at the preliminary stage and appeals can still be made."

Lanete's supporters expect her to return home this Friday. (PNA) LAP/FGS/NBT/CBD/EDS