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Ex-Western Samar town mayor convicted of graft


The Sandiganbayan’s Third Division has convicted former Hinabangan, Western Samar mayor Alejandro Abarratigue and two others of graft in connection with the alleged purchase of a lot in 2008 without authority from the Sangguniang Bayan (SB or Municipal Council).
In a decision promulgated on Nov. 8, 2019, the court found the following guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act: Abarratigue, then-Municipal Treasurer Raul Tapia and then-Administrative Officer 2 Analiza Bagro.
The court sentenced them to six years and a month up to 10 years in prison with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
The court cited Section 22(c) of the Local Government Code, which provides that unless otherwise provided in the code, no contract may be entered into by the local chief executive in behalf of the local government unit without prior authorization by the council concerned.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed the case before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan in 2017.
In its decision, the court said SB Resolution 23-2007 invoked by Abarratigue could not be considered as his authority to purchase the lot.
The resolution enacted an appropriation ordinance, which approved the town’s 2008 annual budget.
Aside from the town council resolution, Abarratigue also relied on a Municipal Development Council (MDC) resolution in purchasing the lot.
But the court said, “He cannot rely on MDC Resolution 01-S2007. It cannot be deemed as the authority contemplated by law as it did not originate from the Sangguniang Bayan and as testified by Abarratigue himself, the members of the MDC merely acknowledged the expansion of municipal cemetery in said resolution.”
It found that the alleged undue injury was sufficiently established.

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Today’s Front Page February 26, 2020

Today’s Front Page February 26, 2020