THE Sandiganbayan has ordered the arrest of Olongapo City Mayor Rolen C. Paulino and 15 others for entering into a disadvantageous lease contract with SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) for government properties.
The anti-graft court’s second division found probable cause to hold Paulino and the others for trial over the graft charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman and ordered the issuance of a warrant of arrest against them.
Aside from Paulino, ordered arrested were Aquilino Yorac Cortez, Jr.; Elena Calma Dabu; Benjamin Gregorio Cajudo II; Eduardo Guerrero Guerrero; Noel Yabut Atienza; Alruela Mauro Bundang-Ortiz; Edna Alviz Elane; Emerito Linus Dolantre Bacay; Randy Dela Cruz Sionzon; Egmidio Manzano Gonzales, Jr.; Tony-Kar Balde III; Cristiflor Buduhan; Anna Marin Florentina Sison; Mamerto B. Malabute; and Joy Fernandez Cahilig.
Paulino and the other accused were charged with violating Section 3 (e ) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for taking advantage of their official position to criminally fast track the awarding of the Lease and Development of the Olongapo City Civic Center Contract to SMPHI without complying with the provisions of RA No. 6957, or An Act Authorizing the Financing, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of Infrastructure Projects by the Private Sector, and for other Purposes.
The order was signed by Associate Justice Oscar C. Herrera, Jr., second division chairperson, and Associate Justices Michael Frederick L. Musngi, and Lorifel L. Pahimna.
The Sandiganbayan set bail of P30,000 each for their temporary liberty. The Office of the Ombudsman earlier ordered the 90-day suspension of the accused over the same case.
Meanwhile, private complainant, Rodalyn Guinto Hanif, welcomed the anti-graft court’s order. However, she expressed dismay that the accused were able to post bail and were not arrested.
“Mga teteng sila. Pinakulong ako ng walang warrant dahil sa pagkalkal ko ng droga sa tao nila. It’s resbak time. I’m glad that the Sandiganbayan found probable cause in the charges filed by the Ombudsman. Kaya lang sana no bail. Yan ung kinakalat nila sa FB nung nakulong ako… Sana hindi sila natimbrehan agad para di sila nakapagbayad agad ng piyansa para sila sana ang nakuhanan ng mug-shot,” she lamented.