SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 07 May) — Surigao del Sur Vice Governor Librado Navarro who was arrested with his wife on March 17 and detained at Medina Police Station in Misamis Oriental for syndicated estafa is out on bail and was seen campaigning in Bislig City since May 6, his comeback bid for the mayoralty seat.
A police officer in charge at the desk of Medina Municipal Police Station said Navarro and his wife Mylene were released after their lawyer presented a bail bond at the Regional Trial Court Branch 27 in Gingoog City.
The police officer on duty said he was not able to read the bail bond document while the warrant officer was assigned in a remote village for the May 9 elections.
It is not clear if the cases were downgraded but the police officer said a check at the station’s blotter showed that the Navarros were released after paying a P50,000 bail bond for violation of Securities Regulation Code or Republic Act 8799 .
Lt. Col. Michael Lozada, Bislig City police chief, earlier said the court did not recommend bail based on an arrest warrant issued on March 14.
In a video of Navarro’s campaign rally posted on his Facebook page, he claimed he and his wife’s arrest were the handiwork of his opponents to block his comeback bid. Before he was elected as Vice Governor in Surigao del Sur in 2019, Navarro served as mayor of Bislig City for three terms.
“I never expected that my opponent would do this to me. They went as far as Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon tracing my records to pin me down,” Navarro said.
Police Maj. Dorothy Tumulak, spokesperson for the Caraga regional police, said the police of Talisayan town in Misamis Oriental, where Maylene is a councilor, reported that many residents complained about unfulfilled investment returns by Demeter Agribusiness Organic Farming, a company owned by the Navarro couple.
The same company has been the subject of complaints by at least 200 residents in Marihatag town, Surigao del Sur, who claimed to have invested some P50 million, an issue that was even featured in the show of television personality Raffy Tulfo in 2021.
Village chief Josefino Pandeling Jr. of Barangay Antipolo in Marihatag, led a protest against Librado for failing to fulfill a committed payout in a “double-your-money” scheme for which his family invested P3 million.
Joseph Pandeling, Josefino’s son, told Tulfo then that Librado promised to return the sum by February 2021 but it did not happen. After the arrest, the two were brought to the Bislig district hospital for medical examination before they were detained at the police station.
Librado, who had served in various elective posts in the past 28 years, was reportedly in the middle of a community gathering in San Andres when the warrant was served.
Speaking over a local radio in Bislig on March 18, Navarro ally Isidro Peñanueva decried as politically motivated the “embarrassing” way that the vice governor was arrested.
“It (arrest) could have been in his house,” Peñanueva said.
Peñanueva said the investment run by the couple was not a scam. “It only went into some challenges because of the pandemic,” he explained. (Chris V. Panganiban / MindaNews)