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Pampanga mayor charged over P2.7-M park renovation

Satellite rendering showing the location of Manuel P. Santiago Park in Guagua, Pampanga. Google Maps

MANILA, Philippines — Dante Torres, the mayor of Guagua, Pampanga, was charged by the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged illegal use of municipal fund for the renovation of a public park in 2014.

Filed before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, the case against Torres involves technical malversation under Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code.

Based on the information of the case, Torres, in June 2014, disbursed “without lawful authority” a total of P2.76-million fund as payments of the expenses incurred in the upgrading/rehabilitation of Manuel P. Santiago Park.

Graft investigation and prosecution officer Sergio Duke Villar said the fund was illegally used other than the purposes for which it was appropriated by the municipal council.

Villar said the fund was intended for the rehabilitation of the frontage area of the monument of Guagua-native playwright Aurelio Tolentino, purchase of refrigerator van and purchase or repair of the municipality's heavy equipment.

The ombudsman recommended to the Sandiganbayan to set Tolentino's bail at P6,000.

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Inaugurated in May 2014, the renovated park features re-elevated area, newly restored monuments, as well as new landscaping, lighting and fountain system.

According to previous reports, a total of P3,002,050 was spent for the park's renovation, some P1 million of which came from the provincial government.

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