Andaya refuses to enter plea during arraignment

Credit to Author: racosta| Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2019 21:07:29 +0000

Former Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. on Friday refused to enter a plea during his arraignment before the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division.

Andaya was arraigned for 97 counts of graft and 97 counts of malversation of public funds in connection with the P900-million Malampaya fund scam.

Andaya’s arraignment was deferred numerous times due to a petition before the Supreme Court to stop the hearings and his motion for reconsideration to dismiss the case.



Funds diverted

The case stemmed from Andaya’s alleged involvement in the P900-million Malampaya fund scam, which supposedly diverted government funds meant for typhoon victims to bogus nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) set up by convicted pork scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

Napoles and Andaya’s other coaccused were arraigned earlier in April.

The Malampaya project, started in 2002, involves the extraction of natural gas from waters off west Palawan province.

The gas project is operated by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. and Chevron Malampaya LLC, which hold controlling shares in the project, with the government holding a minority share.

The government’s share was supposed to be used for energy projects, but was expanded to finance programs authorized by Malacañang.

Napoles, who was convicted of plunder in December last year in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam case of Sen. Bong Revilla, allegedly controlled 12 NGOs that served as conduits for the Malampaya funds.

In 2009, Andaya authorized the release of P900 million from the Malampaya fund for relief operations, rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas affected by Tropical Storm “Ondoy” and Typhoon “Pepeng.”

But the funds were allegedly diverted to the bogus NGOs of Napoles.