Court convicts ex-Palawan gov over mining permit

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THE Sandiganbayan sentenced Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes to up to eight years imprisonment in connection with the renewal of a firm’s small scale mining permit (SSMP) in 2006.

The graft court’s Third Division, in meting out the sentence from six up to eight years in prison, also ruled Reyes’ perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

“Here, by renewing the SSMP before the expiration of the SSMP PLW No. 37, accused Reyes allowed OMDC to extract nickel ore after it has exhausted its privilege for the period,” the court said in its decision.

According to the charge sheet, SSMP PLW No. 37.1 was allegedly issued to the Olympic Mines and Development Corporation (OMDC) from April 6, 2006 to April 5, 2008 when SSMP PLW No. 37 was valid and subsisted up to Nov. 3, 2006.

Meanwhile, the court acquitted Andronico Baguyo—who was then a mining operations officer and head of the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board Technical Secretariat—after the prosecution failed to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

“There is nothing in the testimony of the witnesses that would indicate or even hint of…Baguyo’s participation in the processing and approval of SSMP PLW No. 37.1,” the court stated.

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