Former Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija mayor Lucio Uera has been found guilty of graft and is facing up to 10 years in prison and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
In a 19-page ruling, the Sandiganbayan found him guilty of violation of Section 3(h) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for approving a contract with a maintenance firm in which his wife is an incorporator.
“[T]his Court lends more weight to the certification of the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] that Mrs. Ruby Uera is an incorporator, director and subscriber of P10,000 worth of capital stock of Priva Power. Therefore, because Mrs. Ruby Uera is an incorporator, stockholder and director of the said corporation, his husband, accused Uera, has a direct interest in Priva Power,” it said.
Section 3(h) of the anti-graft law prohibits public officers who have direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction from intervening or taking part in their official capacity in connection with such interest or when they are prohibited from having such interest by any law.
During the trial, the prosecution established that in March 2002, Uera entered into a service contract with Priva Power and Allied Services (Priva) for the management of the Pantabangan Municipal Electric System.
As a result, maintenance and operation expense payments were made to Priva in the total amount of P1.11 million.
“Without being the Mayor, and acting in such capacity, the accused could not have facilitated the contract with Priva Power. And because the accused had a direct interest in the latter, it is therefore very evident that he had intervened in the act or agreement in an official capacity,” the court said.