Former Siquijor governor charged with impeding justice

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A former governor of Siquijor province is facing criminal charges before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly attempting to foil a police operation against a suspected illegal drug pusher.

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The Office of the Ombudsman charged Orlando Fua Jr. with obstruction of justice after he allegedly tried to “impede, frustrate and delay” a team of drug-busting operatives, who is after a certain James Largo, a barangay (village) chairman and a suspected shabu (methamphetamine) trader.

On November 25, 2010, uniformed men led by police inspector Reynal Valmoria served a search warrant against Largo.

After a “mere text message,” Fua was able to be present at the scene to stand as a witness in the execution of the warrant.

In their recollection of the incident, witnesses Police Officer (PO) 3 Samuel Ocao, PO2 Marve Balay-og, PO2 Jeralf Paghacian and PO1 Dynichee Tupac hinted that the governor “exert[ed]influence on the proceedings.”

Defending himself, Fua said that he was able to be there in a rush since he lived nearby. He added that the execution of warrant was improperly served.

The Ombudsman found Fua’s claim untenable and pushed for the filing of the case.

The state fiscal pointed out that the governor could conjure “a number of reasons” why he was there “at the wee hours of the morning to volunteer as witness.”

“He cannot deny that he was also present to come to the succor of Largo. No explanation [can justify his trying]to prevent the team of police officers from taking Largo into custody,” the prosecution said.

On Friday, the Sandiganbayan raffled the case and it landed at the Fifth Division.

Recommended bail for the accused is set at P12,000.

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