Former Negros mayor, 2 others face graft over village projects

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The Office of the Ombudsman has found basis to file a graft case before the Sandiganbayan against former Mayor Lawrence Teves of Tanjay City, Negros Oriental and two others in connection with barangay (village) infrastructure projects.

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Likewise facing indictment are former Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) members Jose Orlino and Steve Teves, who allegedly requested for the project.

Teves’ motion for reconsideration on the Ombudsman’s ruling was denied but the case has not yet been filed with the graft court.

In a statement issued by the Ombudsman on Thursday, it said the Commission on Audit (COA) had reported several alleged red flags observed in the construction of footsteps in the villages of Obogon and Santo Niño.

The Ombudsman said the COA noted that the materials were received on July 15, 2011 while the actual installation was made in 2014.

Also, according to the same statement, COA observed that 85 pieces of footsteps were allegedly “not installed” and “only piled” near a house.

Teves, who won as vice mayor in the 2016 elections, cited good faith but the Ombudsman said the former mayor “cannot hide behind the defense that he merely approved the transaction to benefit the city. Clearly shown in the Program of Works is the fact that that the implementation shall be ‘by administration,’ that is by the executive branch.”

REINA TOLENTINO

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