• Former governor, judge face graft raps

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    OLONGAPO CITY: A Subic-based corporation has filed graft charges against former governor Vicente Magsaysay of Zambales, Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Richard Paradeza, and three others over the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against a Japanese firm.

    In an eight-page complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, Subic Coastal Development Corporation (SCDC) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Marianito Fernandez accused the five respondents of violating Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

    The provision penalizes “giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”

    Early this year, Cresc Inc., a consumable printer manufacturer based in Japan, was constructing a factory on a one-hectare lot located at Block 7, Lot 3 of Moonbay Marina Leisure Resort in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone which was leased and developed by SCDC.

    However, Magsaysay’s Mobi and Red Enterprises (MRE) also claimed to have leased the same lot six years earlier.

    Magsaysay said in an affidavit that he had entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with SCDC and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) in 2008.

    Under the MOA, SCDC supposedly agreed to transfer to SBMA its leasehold rights covering a hectare of the leased area.

    However, records show that the MOA was never approved. It did not bear the signature of Armand Arreza, former SBMA administrator and one of the parties to the agreement.

    On November 7, Cresc and SBMA were summoned to appear and respond to a complaint filed by MRE before Branch 72 of the Olongapo RTC, presided by Paradeza.

    According to SCDC officials, MRE asked for damages and the issuance of a TRO to stop the construction Cresc’s factory.

    In a press statement, Fernandez said the case was filed because “ginagamit umano nito [MRE] ang korte sa Olongapo para maagaw sa SCDC at Cresc ang lupa [MRE is allegedly using the Olongapo court in order to prevent SCDC and Cresc from exercising rights over the land].”

    “Ayon sa hepe ng legal department ng SBMA, nagkaroon ng pagkakataon ang MRE na magkaroon ng sublease sa naturang isang ektarya noong 2008, ngunit hindi ito natuloy dahil hindi nakasunod ang kumpanya ni Magsaysay sa mga kondisyones ng SBMA [According to the chief of the legal department of the SBMA, MRE had a chance to sublease the one-hectare lot in 2008, but this did not push through because Magsaysay’s company was not able to comply with the SBMA’s conditions],” Fernandez added.

    In response to MRE’s complaint, SCDC filed an urgent motion to dismiss the case, arguing that MRE “has no legal capacity to sue.”

    However, Paradeza allegedly refused to resolve the motion and, instead, “hastily issued a falsified and patently erroneous [TRO],” according to the complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.

    Aside from Magsaysay and Paradeza, charges were also filed against Angelica Cheng, lawyer Josefina Ela Bueno and Mariano Chua Jr.

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