In a 43-page decision promulgated on July 19, the Sandiganbayan’s Special Sixth Division also ordered Palabrica’s perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
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Iloilo mayor gets 16 years for graft
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - August 1, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Mayor Rufino Palabrica of Dingle, Iloilo has been found guilty of two counts of graft and may spend up to 16 years in prison.

In a 43-page decision promulgated on July 19, the Sandiganbayan’s Special Sixth Division also ordered Palabrica’s perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2016, the cases stemmed from Palabrica’s award of a lease contract and business permit to a drugstore and medical clinic, which he owned, in the town’s public market in 2014.

“Signing on behalf of the lessor (municipality) and the lessee (Farmacia Francisca) in the contracts of lease... leaves the indubitable imprint of self-dealing. This is askew and foments conflict of interest,” the court ruling read.

The court found no merit on Palabrica’s defense that he was only performing his ministerial duty as a mayor.

“The occupancy of a stall at Dingle public market is but a privilege, which the mayor may or may not grant, but not a duty enjoined upon him by law or by reason of his position... Accused should have exercised utmost circumspection if not self-restraint in approving the application for a business permit for his own clinic,” the court said.

The Sandiganbayan said Palabrica had also spent more time in the clinic.

“Nine hours were spent on a regular basis in his clinic/pharmacy... By spreading himself too thin, he is doing a disservice to the electorate whom he vowed to give 100 percent effort and attention,” the court said.

GRAFT AND CORRUPTION RUFINO PALABRICA
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