• NegOr exec urges dismissal of graft case


    A former mayor in Negros Oriental province wants the Sandi-ganbayan to dismiss his graft case since, he said, the Office Ombudsman failed to show that his P80-million loan was spent illegally.

    In his 16-page motion to quash, Ernest Reyes, a former mayor of Guihulngan City in Central Visayas, through his defense counsels said that nowhere does the charge sheet filed against him show how entering into a loan constitutes violations of the anti-graft law.

    “There is no undue injury caused to the government by the act of Reyes in entering into a loan. Careful examination of the information shows that the allegations are not sufficient,” the motion read.

    Quoting the charge sheet, the defense said that the loan was used for public works, ambulances and infrastructure, which were properly stipulated in an approved ordinance.

    Reyes said that the P80-million loan was included in the supplemental annual investment plan, a subsequent appropriation ordinance, which the city council passed after the local appropriation ordinance.

    “Resolution No. 4-2008 of the city development council includes, among others, in the economic services category [the 80-million project],” the defense raised, referring to the projects wherein the loan was appropriated.

    Prosecutors said in the charge sheet that the city was only operating on a re-enacted budget, which should have prevented the city from disbursing the proceeds of the loan.

    The defense refuted the allegation and attached in an annex the 2008 appropriation ordinance, which was enacted “as early as January 22, 2008.”

    Reyes was said to have availed of the loan for the city “on or about March and April 2008,” the charge sheet read.

    “The information is void for being violative of the constitutionally guaranteed right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him,” the defense team said.

    The Ombudsman slapped the case against Reyes because the multi-million loan could have been avoided since the city had enough internal revenue allotment, which only needed an appropriation ordinance before its release.

    “[The city’s] IRA amounting to P80 million could have been utilized for these questioned transactions . . . With this loan, the city was made to pay an additional amount of P1.6 aside from the principal of P80 million,” the Ombudsman said..

    At present, Reyes is the vice-mayor of Guihulngan City after he edged out Mil Rodriguez to take the second highest seat in the city that suffered the worst blow of a 6.9-magnitude earthquake in February 2012.


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