The Sandiganbayan has ordered the arrest of Olongapo City Mayor Rolen 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 on trial for the graft charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman and ordered the issuance of a warrant of arrest against them.
Court records showed 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 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 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 of 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.
READ: Olongapo mayor faces graft suit over ‘Calvary’