Ex-mayor gets 12 years for unfinished projects

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THE former mayor in Nueva Vizcaya province got a 12-year jail term for paying a contractor in full in two projects despite lack of completion and the release of P1.3-million cash advances to his vice mayor and provincial council members.

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In a 32-page decision of the Sandiganbayan Second Division, Alfredo Castillo Jr., former mayor of Alfonso Castañeda in Nueva Vizcaya, was found guilty of three counts of graft, earning himself a 12-year maximum stay behind bars.

Castillo stood charge for paying a total of P3.63 million to Jerome Tan, contractor to the five-span gymnasium construction worth P1.26 million and the Lublub-Dibilit Road construction worth P2.37 million.

He was also implicated for releasing P1.3 million of cash advances to his vice mayor and provincial board members, which was charged against the officials’ salary.

The Office of the Ombudsman presented auditor Ruth Sonday, prosecution witness, who said that just a day after May 11, 1999, Castillo already paid in full the gymnasium work despite a duration worth of 117 days.

Auditor Danilo Ragsac, who spoke for the state, also said that the when he inspected the gymnasium, it was only 68 percent complete.

Meanwhile, the road was only 70 percent complete when he inspected it between September and November 12, 1999.

Auditor Nenita Jarabe added at the witness stand that the contractor’s statement of work for the Lublub-Dibilit Road was prepared “not by the contractor but by the municipal engineer who made inconsistent declarations in the report of inspection.”

Castillo was defaulted during the trial for not attending hearing dates despite repeated stern warnings from the court.

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