2 Toledo City officials post bail for graft cases
Gregg M. Rubio (The Freeman) - June 11, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - A Toledo City councilor and a barangay councilwoman has posted bail after warrants of arrest were released by the court against them for their alleged violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act.

The Regional Trial Court ordered the arrest of Toledo City Councilor Edgardo Aguilar and his sister, Barangay Bunga Councilwoman Emma Aguilar-Arias.

Aguilar, 59, is the barangay captain of Bunga and the president of the Association of Barangay Councils.

Aguilar and Arias voluntary surrendered around 1:30 p.m. yesterday at the Toledo City Police Station and posted P30,000 bail each for their temporary liberty before to avoid detention over the weekend. Aguilar did not issue a statement after posting bail.

Toledo City RTC Judge Hermes Montero issued the warrant of arrest on May 24, 2016.

Sometime in November last year, the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas found Aguilar and Arias guilty of grave misconduct for violating the three-term limit rule stated in the Constitution and the Local Government Code.

Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente has ordered the dismissal from the service of Aguilar and Arias and the forfeiture of benefits and perpetual disqualification from holding public office against them.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Elvira Benlot and Samuel Cuico against Aguilar,  Arias, councilman Leonardo Oralde, and councilwoman Emiliana Mancao.   The complaint pertains to respondents' act of resigning from their respective position just a day after they took their oath of office on December 1, 2010.

Arias resigned as barangay captain while Oralde and Mancao also resigned as council members paving the way for Aguilar, the third-in-rank councilman to succeed as barangay captain and eventually elected as ABC president on December 7, 2010.

On January 1, 2011, Oralde and Mancao were appointed as councilmen.

Aguilar had already served as barangay captain for three consecutive terms prior to the October 25, 2010 barangay elections, hence, already barred by the three-term limit rule under the law.

"Their singular respective acts were clearly designed to put back Aguilar at the helm of barangay governance through a scheme they carefully hatched in clear circumvention of law, conferring in effect, an unwarranted benefit to Aguilar, who willingly accepted the position despite his knowledge of its legal infirmity," read the anti-graft order.

The anti-graft body earlier dismissed the case against Aguilar, Arias and Oralde due to the application of the Aguinaldo Doctrine following their re-election to their respective position while the office also claimed no jurisdiction over Mancao who was no longer holding public office.

In their motion for reconsideration, complainants assailed the dismissal by maintaining that the Aguinaldo Doctrine cannot be applied in the case of Arias and Aguilar because they were not re-elected to the same position.

Arias was elected as barangay captain in 2010 and as councilwoman in the 2013 elections; Aguilar was elected councilman in 2010 and as barangay captain in the 2013 elections.

As for Oralde, complainants also maintained that said doctrine could not be applied to him because even if he was reelected as councilman in 2013, he resigned in 2010 but was appointed later to the same position by former mayor Aurelio Espinosa.

The anti-graft body reversed itself and sustained the arguments of the complainants that Arias and Aguilar could not benefit from the Doctrine of Condonation because they have not been re-elected to the same position.  (FREEMAN)


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