Mayor to seek reconsideration of Sandiganbayan verdict

By: Gerome Dalipe

MAYOR Rufino Palabrica III will appeal the conviction handed down by the Sandiganbayan against him for violation of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

In a statement to Daily Guardian, Palabrica’s office said he will file a motion for reconsideration to the decision of the anti-graft court’s Special 6th Division promulgated on July 19, 2019.

If the motion is denied, the mayor will exhaust all legal means all the way to the Supreme Court to clear his name of the charges.

The Sandiganbayan found Palabrica guilty of two counts of violation of Section 3(h) of RA 3019. He was meted six to eight years imprisonment for each count and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

The case stemmed from Palabrica’s issuance of a business permit to a clinic and drug store he owned in 2014.

In a decision dated July 19, the anti-graft court’s Special 6th Division convicted Palabrica for violating the anti-graft law due to conflict of interest.

In 2013, the Office of the Ombudsman filed the complaint with the Sandiganbayan accusing Palabrica of issuing a business permit and lease contract to Farmacia Francisca, a drug store and medical clinic he owns.

An investigation by the ombudsman showed that Palabrica signed the lease contract dated Jan. 2013 both as a lessor and a lessee.

In 2016, the Ombudsman also ordered Palabrica dismissed over the same case.

The Ombudsman said the transactions also violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and the Local Government Code of 1991.

Division chairperson Associate Justice Kevin Narce Vivero penned the resolution, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Sarah Jane Fernandez and Karl Miranda.

Section 3(h) of the Republic Act 3019 states that it a criminal offense for a public officer to have a direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction which he or she intervened or took part in connection with such interest.