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Peace adviser: MILF to be charged if P5-M aid misspent

The Aquino administration on Thursday vowed to hale the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to court if a P5-million “aid" for a leadership institute is found to be spent for “lawless elements" instead.

But presidential peace process adviser Teresita Deles insisted the P5-million transaction was above board, and that the money was for establishing a Bangsamoro Management and Leadership Institute.

“Certainly if we can see the P5 million was spent for lawless elements, criminal charges will follow. That is the way it is in any such transaction," Deles said in an interview on dwIZ radio.

Asked what sanction the government can impose on the MILF if it is found to have misspent the money, she said one possible charge would be “estafa."

Under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, estafa involves acts of defrauding (swindling) any person and is punishable with imprisonment of up to 30 years.

“I think that’s estafa," she said when asked what the sanction would be for the MILF if it misspent the money.

On the other hand, Deles insisted the transaction was “not extraordinary" and “above board."

Deles also reiterated the government may ask the MILF to account for the money by August 2012, or a year after the government turned over the amount to the secessionist group.

She also pointed out the P5 million was a commitment of the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration, which gave only P1 million in 2008.

The Aquino administration had received much flak in the past week for the transaction, amid the death of 19 soldiers in a clash with MILF forces in Basilan last week. — LBG, GMA News
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