Tayabas ex-mayor, ex-vice mayor guilty of 2 more graft charges

MANILA, Philippines – Faustino Silang and Venerando Rea, former mayor and vice mayor of Tayabas City, Quezon, were found guilty of two other graft charges after a previous graft conviction.

The Sandiganbayan 4th Division, in a decision on January 18, sentenced the two to 6 more years of jail time for each graft count, adding 12 years to their imprisonment. The two were earlier sentenced to 6 years in prison after being convicted of graft by the Sandiganbayan 6th Division in July 2018.

Aside from the two, the following Tayabas City Council ex-members were found guilty: Luzviminda Cuadra, Rex Abadilla, Abelardo Abrigo Jr, Macario Reyes, Roy Librado Oabel, and Romeo Cayanan.

The officials were found to have conspired to illegally hire a private lawyer as city legal officer despite a ban on that appointment under the Local Government Code and an earlier disallowance issued by the Commission on Audit.

"Instead of complying, accused Silang ignored the restrictions and continued to hire the services of Attorney Salvacion as legal counsel for the city under the guise of a service contract for consultancy," the anti-graft court said.

It added: "The records in this case verify that all of the accused knew and were made aware of the prohibition of the hiring of a private lawyer for the legal needs of the city. Without a doubt, their individual and active participation contributed to the commission and accomplishment of the crimes charged herein." – Rappler.com