MANILA The Sandiganbayan has sentenced to a 10-year jail term a former Negros Occidental town mayor for graft, for allowing in 2009 the operation of a cockpit arena on a lot he owns in the municipality.
In a 22-page decision dated last Aug. 28, the Sandiganbayan Special 7th Division found former San Jose, Negros Occidental Mayor Nelson Ruiz guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Sec. 3 (h) of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Ruiz has also been barred from entering government service.
However, the anti-graft court acquitted him of violating Section 3 (d) of RA 3019, for the prosecution's failure to prove his guilt for allegedly allowing his daughter, Susan R. Logronio, to be employed on April 15, 2009 as cashier in the cockpit business owned by Felix Ramirez.
Plainly, the prosecution failed to prove that accused Ruiz had anything to do with Logronio's engagement with the subject cockpit to render him liable for the offense charged, the Sandiganbayan said.
At that time, Ramirez had an application for a license to operate a cockpit in Barangay Cancawas, San Jose, Negros Occidental with Ruiz, who issued the license.
Ruiz was charged with violation of Section 3 (h) of RA 3019 for issuing a license on April 16, 2009, allowing the cockpit to operate even if he was the lessor of the lot where it was constructed.
To recapitulate, this Court finds that accused Ruiz violated Sec. 3 (h) of RA 3019 under both modes, i.e., (a) having financial/pecuniary interest in a cockpit, which is prohibited by Sec. 89 of RA 7160, and (b) intervening in connection with his financial/pecuniary interest in the cockpit. As already discussed above, this constitutes only one offense, it added. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency