DENR investigator gets jail term for graft

MANILA The Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC) has convicted Edwin Atentar, Special Land Investigator of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The Cebu City RTC Branch 12 sentenced Atentar to be jailed for six years and one month to 10 years and six months and barred him from ever holding public office.

Records showed that in March 2006, Atentar received PHP8,000 from a private complainant, Virgilia Seguerra, in exchange for the processing of the latter's Miscellaneous Sale Application (MSA) for a lot located in San Isidro, Talisay City.

Seguerra testified that Atentar initially demanded PHP100,000 to process the MSA. But finding the price too high, Seguerra requested that the payment be made on a staggered basis.

After waiting for several months without any update on the application, Seguerra demanded that Atentar return the money.

In August 2006, Atentar was able to return only PHP5,000 as evidenced by a receipt acknowledged and signed by him.

In its Feb. 8, 2018 decision, Cebu City RTC Branch 12 Presiding Judge Estela Alma Singco ruled that as shown in the testimony of prosecution witness Seguerra, accused went twice to the university where she was teaching for no more apparent reason than to demand money. This was never refuted by the accused. More telling is accused's persistence in obtaining the money for purported occupation fee, although he has no authority to accept the same.

Likewise, Singco ordered Atentar to return the remaining amount of PHP3,000 to Seguerra.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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