AGBILARAN CITY – This paper, the first and only daily in the province, considered Salcon graft case the second top story last year.
To the surprise of both protagonists and antagonists, the case had resurrected after it was dismissed almost 15 years back.
Little did BNT know that publishing such controversial graft case against Captiol tenants and other officials involved caused a stir and BNT even received threats of court action from the unknown.
But BNT was not alone. Some, who follow through the said news, talked/discussed about it with supporters of both camps of Dela Serna and Relampagos-Chatto lambasting each other in social media, like facebook. Social media indeed provided relevance in public discourse.
The rest is history while waiting for the outcome for the case maybe years from now. And BNT claimed what was rightfully to be made public without fear or favor to anyone.
It will recalled that the respondents are charged for of violation of section 3 (g) of the Republic Act 3019, as amended, otherwise known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, particularly Section 3, par. (g) of said that law that provides: “Entering, on behalf of the government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.”
Aside from incumbent Rep. Rene Relampagos and Gov. edgar Chatto, other respondents include former provincial board members Arnold R. Lungay, Isabelito B. Tongco, Concepcion O. Lim (now vice-governor), Eufrasio M. Mascarinas, Tomas D. Abapo, Jr., Felix R. Uy, former Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Inocentes Lopez.
Relampagos was accused of the Salcon deal while he was the governor and Chatto as vice-governor when the SAlcon deal transpired at that time.
Also charged as respondents of the said case were former provincial planning and development officer Juanito G. Cambangay (deceased), Lopez and Dennis C. Villareal, officer of the Construction of Salcon International Inc., Salcon Power Corp, Inc., and the consortium of Salcon Philippines, Inc and Salcon Ltd.
The said case has been raffled and went to first division of the anti-graft court, De la Serna said.
The complaint against Bohol officials arose from the alleged under-valuation of the assets of Provincial Public Utilities Department’s (PPUD) power and water systems of the provincial government when it was dealt with Salcon consortium under the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA).
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales signed the said criminal charge docketed as Criminal Case No. SB 15 CRM 0283 for violation of section 3 (g) of the Republic Act 3019, as amended, otherwise known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Section 3, par. (g) of said law provides that “Entering, on behalf of the government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.”
The Sandiganbayan first division has issued warrant of arrest order against the accused in criminal case No. SBCRM0283, People of the Philippines versus Relampagos et al, on the alleged sale to Salcon group of companies of the former Provincial Public Utilities Department’s (PPUD) water and power systems then owned and managed by the provincial government.
In its minutes of the proceedings dated November 2, 2015, the anti-graft court adopted a resolution for the said warrant of arrest order in connection of said case.
“The Court finds that sufficient grounds exist for the finding probable cause for the purpose of issuing a warrant of arrest against the accused charged in the instant case,” after it examine the Information and evaluating the resolution of the prosecutor, the evidence and the records of the preliminary investigation.
The Resolution for the issuance of the warrant of arrest order against the accused was signed by Justices Efren N. De la Cruz, chairman; Rodolfo A. Ponferada and Rafael L. Lagos of the first division of the Sandiganbayan.
As a consequence, the Sandigan issued Warrant of Arrest dated Nov. 2, 2015, a copy of which was signed by Dela Cruz. The Warrant of Arrest named Relampagos. Lungay, Mascarinas, and Madrinan, Caberte, Alesna, Renato Lim, Digal and Cambangay.The said warrant was certified by first division executive clerk of court Estela Teresita C. Rosete.
The Sandiganbayan, earlier, issued a hold departure order (HDO) and directed the Bureau of Immigration “to hold the departure of the accused who is/are barred from leaving the country except upon prior approval from this Court.”
The same justices signed the said HDO based on the minutes of the court dated October 30, 2015, which is furnished to Bohol News Today by one of the complainants, former governor Atty. Victor de la Serna. (rvo)