Lanao Norte mayor to appeal conviction
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - May 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Reelected Mayor Rommel Arnado of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, who was convicted of grave coercion over the eviction of a family from their houses in 2013, has maintained his innocence.

In a text message to The STAR, Arnado said he would appeal the ruling of the Sandiganbayan’s First Division.

The court sentenced Arnado to a minimum of six months to a maximum of three years and six months in prison for each of the three counts of grave coercion that he was found guilty of.

“I am filing a motion for reconsideration. It’s a squatter eviction case that my political opponent is trying to pursue,” Arnado said. 

The court had earlier ordered the cases filed against Arnado’s co-accused who remain at large – Rey Camanian, security officer of the civil security unit of Kauswagan police and casual employee Lauro Diputado – to be archived.

The cases stemmed from the eviction of Ibra, Osama and Farhana, all surnamed Sambuat, and their relatives from their houses in Barangay Tacub.

The Sambuat family claimed ownership of the land where their houses were built amid a separate claim by business partners Henry Dy, Voltaire Rovira and Sotero Trinidad.

Graft probers said the accused also demolished the  houses of the complainants and took their material possessions.

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