Ex-Laguna mayor faces 8-year jail term for graft

MANILA — The Sandiganbayan has sentenced a former mayor of Cabuyao City, Laguna to eight years imprisonment for being a member of the Board of Directors of a private bank during his term in government office.

The anti-graft court’s 7th Division, in its 20-page ruling dated Feb. 1, 2019, found Isidro Hemedes Jr. guilty of graft, also perpetually barring him from holding public office.

“We find that, taken together, the law, admitted evidence and stipulations prove beyond reasonable doubt that accused is guilty of violating Section 3(h) of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019, when he occupied the position of member of the Board of Directors of LDB (Luzon Development Bank), a private development bank, during his incumbency as city mayor of Cabuyao, Laguna,” the court said.

It also noted that Hemedes’ having only seven common shares of stock in LDB does not necessarily negate the presence of the second element of graft.
It said that Section 3(h) of RA No. 3019 simply requires the public officer to have a “direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction”, adding that it does not indicate any further qualification regarding the nature of the said interest.

The Office of the Ombudsman charged Hemedes with graft before the Sandiganbayan on March 9, 2018 for allegedly illegally holding the position as member of the Board of Directors of LDB from June 30, 2007 to Feb. 5, 2014 while then serving as Cabuyao City mayor.

He pleaded “not guilty” during his arraignment on April 13, 2018. 
Perfecto Raymundo, Jr /PNA – northboundasia.com