Former Davao Occidental mayor nabbed over graft charge

DAVAO CITY–The former mayor of Jose Abad Santos town in Davao Occidental, who was convicted by the Sandiganbayan over a graft case, was arrested by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-11 (CIDG-11) here on Tuesday evening.

Based on a report obtained from the CIDG-11 Wednesday, former mayor Joel Reyes Lachica was arrested at his residence in Seaside Subdivision, Matina Aplaya around 8 p.m Tuesday.

Lachica was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Sandiganbayan Fifth Division Associate Justice Rafael Lagos after he was convicted of graft for the purchase of a generator set worth PHP1.6 million.

Lachica was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in 2009. Lachica was mayor of Jose Abad Santos in late 1990’s to 2000.

Davao reporters tried to interview the CIDG chief but he declined to give more information on the case.

The case against Lachica stemmed from the direct purchase of a Komatsu diesel generator from Marubeni Corp, a Singapore-based company, sometime in 2000.

The Sandiganbayan decision stated that Lachica made a reckless purchase and “in utter disregard of the consequences of procuring the generator set.”

The machine valued at PHP1.694 million was purchased to supply electricity to the Municipal Hall offices but it was never used because its features were incompatible with the electrical wirings of the building.

The Office of the Ombudsman indicted Lachica for purchasing the item without any conduct of technical engineering study to determine its viability. Armando Fenequito Jr/