• Ex-Palawan gov convicted of graft

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    THE Sandiganbayan’s Third Division has found former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes guilty in the graft case filed against him and another individual in 2011 in connection with the renewal of a firm’s small scale mining permit (SSMP) in 2006.

    The court sentenced Reyes from six up to eight years in prison with 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.

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

    MA. REINA LEANNE C. TOLENTINO

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