Ex-mayor gets 16 yearsover workers’ dismissal

Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - October 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A former municipal mayor in Nueva Ecija has been sentenced to up to 16 years in prison for illegally terminating and suspending employees in 2005.

In a 24-page decision promulgated on Sept. 22, the Sandiganbayan found former Pantabangan town mayor Lucio Uera guilty of two counts of violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Uera was sentenced to six to eight years in prison for each count of the offense, or a total of 12 to 16 years. He was also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

In filing the case in 2013, the Office of the Ombudsman said Uera caused undue injuries to seven municipal employees whom he terminated in 2005.

Uera also suspended 33 other employees and dropped them from the roll without justification.

The workers’ termination and suspension stemmed from their recognition of Uera’s political rival as the duly elected mayor of Pantabangan following the 2004 elections.

The ombudsman said the employees merely complied with an order issued by the San Jose City Regional Trial Court Branch 39, installing Romeo Borja as mayor of Pantabangan.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government also issued a memorandum recognizing Borja as mayor.

The anti-graft court agreed with the ombudsman that Uera’s actions were politically motivated.

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