Rodriguez, Rizal ex-mayor gets up to 6 months in prison
Ex-Rodriguez Mayor Pedro Cuerpo is found guilty of defying a court order, sentenced to up to 6 months in prison

MANILA, Philippines – Former Mayor Pedro Cuerpo of Rodriguez town in Rizal province was sentenced to maximum 6 months in prison over his refusal to comply with a court order instructing him to accommodate the building permit application of an informal settlers group.

According to a statement issued by the Ombudsman, the Sandiganbayan Second Division found Cuerpo and municipal engineer Fernando Roño guilty of violating Article 231 of the Revised Penal Code for defying a September 17, 2003 order of the San Mateo Regional Trial Court’s (RTC) Judge Elizabeth Balquin-Reyes.

The court sentenced the two to suffer the penalty of imprisonment from one month and 11 days of arresto mayor as minimum, to 6 months of arresto mayor as maximum.

“[Cuerpo] truly disdained having the members of the Samahan settle at the municipality of Rodriguez because he regarded them as squatters or informal settlers, and he never hid his sentiment that he did not want squatters in his [town],” the Office of the Ombudsman quoted the Sandiganbayan decision.

“The applications [for building permit] were never for a moment allowed to lie in the office of the municipal engineer nor were they given the chance to be perused by the officials supposed to act on them, including the accused,” the decision added.

The 23-page decision was penned by Associate Justice Teresita Diaz-Baldos. Associate Justices Napoleon Inoturan and Oscar Herrera Jr. concurred.

The case was filed by land owners Leticia Nanay, Nancy Barsubia, Ma. Victoria Ramirez, Crisanta Oxina and their co-owners. –