Whatever happened to the graft case of Cong. Leachon?

FIRST, the ‘good news,’ dear readers.

‘Smuggled’ cigarettes worth more than P1.5 million in the black market have been confiscated  and destroyed last Monday by the authorities.

But if readers would want to heap praises on the Bureau of Customs (BoC) for the deed, this would be wholly misplaced because the apprehension and destruction thru water immersion were done by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) as it intensifies the campaign to rid jail facilities in Metro Manila of contrabands and other banned items.

The BJMP said the destruction of the 14,113 sticks of cigarettes thru water immersion was personally supervised by NCR regional director, Ignacio Panti; previously, 234 pieces of cellphones and other electronic gadgets and more than 2,000 pieces of cigarette sticks were also destroyed on Panti’s order.

Panti said the intensified campaign against the smuggling of banned items and contrabands inside jail facilities is also aimed at preventing the spread of vices and their related diseases such as tuberculosis and promote public health and safety by preventing infections inside jail facilities that could eventually spread to nearby communities.

Panti also reported that already, 10  facilities in the Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela) and 4 facilities in San Juan and Mandaluyong, have been inspected for the quality of food being given to inmates. Translation: “Tiyakin” na hindi “kinukupit” ng mga jail warden ang badyet para sa “tsibog” ng mga preso, hehehe!

The teams were under the supervision of Atty. Roy P. Valenzuela and Joyce Simplicia D. Yunchingtat, chairperson and vice chairperson respectively, of the Regional Food Service Council (RFSC).

The directive was an offshoot of an earlier meeting between Panti and the Office of the Ombudsman and Quezon City warden, Fermin Enriquez, to discuss the “corruption vulnerability assessment” (CVA) of the Quezon City Jail.

Panti said he welcomes the recommendations by the Ombudsman aimed at establishing a corruption-free environment food service system at the regional level.

The official added that he expects the RFSC to finish its audit of jail facilities by the end of the first quarter this year.

* * *

With the midterm election just several weeks away, the people in the first congressional district of Oriental Mindoro, are asking a simple question:

‘Whatever happened to graft case involving former Calapan City mayor and now their congressman, Paulino Salvador ‘Day’ Leachon?

The local folks and the local media recalled that in 2015, despite his effort to have his case withdrawn two years earlier or in 2013, the 4th Division of the Sandiganbayan still decided to slap him with a 90-day preventive suspension along with Calapan City Engineer Benjamin Acedera.

The suspension, of course, simply means that there is enough evidence before them against Leachon.

Their co-accused were Bgy. Captain Ernesto Vinas and Juan Vinas while the complainant is Mr. Nilo Baculo.

The video report by GMA-7 about the case, still available in the Internet, by the way, stated that Leachon had allowed the use of the city’s dump trucks for the personal benefit of “private individuals” and without compensating the city government.

Only recently, Leachon, as chair of the House committee on justice, found himself in the receiving end again for his highly controversial proposal to lower the criminal age to just 9 years old.

Very much elated that Pres. Duterte has included the war against graft and corruption as the other “center piece” of his effort to promote good governance in public service after the war against illegal drugs, Mindoro voters are in their right to ask, “Anyare na sa kasong ito?”

For certainly, if they want to elect the “right people” to represent them in the 18th Congress, an update of this issue would be very much welcome.

Along the way of explaining this graft case, Cong. Leachon may also want to explain the huge increase in his personal wealth.

Sources said that in 2009, his declared net worth, based on his SALN was around P11 million; in 2017, this has jumped to more than P48 million, leading them to ask, can being a full time politician really helped in personal wealth creation?

Are not politicians supposed to be public servants and not businessmen?

Along the way that Leachon was “serving the people” of Calapan and the rest of the first district of Mindoro, sources also said that he has also “visited” Macau, Hongkong, Malaysia, Qatar, London, Australia, the US mainland via San Francisco and Japan, between April 2017 to November last year

What these visits are for, he may also want to explain to his downtrodden constituents because simple people that they are, they sure know he has no constituents there, hehehe!

And of course, this corner is open to hear your side, Cong. Leachon, so there!