THE Office of the Ombudsman filed graft and grave coercion charges before the Sandiganbayan against former Mayor Guillermo So of Matnog, Sorsogon for allegedly ordering the closure of a firm’s operations in 2009 without due process.
Assistant Special Prosecutor Ma. Lourdes Mendoza alleged that the So and his co-respondent, then-Municipal Administrator Rick Francisco, caused the closure of Sorsogon Terminals and Arrastre Services Corporation (STASCO) “without any prior notice, written closure order, or due process of law,” which resulted in the destruction of STASCO’s office facilities and its failure to collect terminal fees and port charges for six days amounting P72,000.
The prosecutor also alleged that the respondents, “through violence, threats or intimidation” and “without any right to do so or authority of law,” prevented the firm’s officials and employees “from managing, operating and maintaining the passenger terminal building and conducting other business operations of STASCO at the Port of Matnog, which are not prohibited by law…to the damage and prejudice of STASCO and its officials and employees and detriment of public service.”
The Ombudsman recommended P30,000 bail each for the graft case, and P12,000 bail each for grave coercion case.
REINA C. TOLENTINO