Leyte mayor in hot water for quarry mess
30 May 2017
The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to charge Mayor Charita Chan of Babatngon, Leyte, with violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) for allowing quarrying in the Salug Dongon River. Also included in the charge sheet is quarry operator, Christopher Estrella of CSE Builders.
Based on the investigation, it was found that in 2014, Chan allowed Estrella to operate quarrying activities despite not having any extraction permit from the Provincial Governor. Complainants narrated that Chan lobbied barangay officials to pass a resolution stating that they are not opposing the quarrying activities and in exchange, promised that Estrella will shoulder the barangay’s unpaid electric bills and will sponsor a bingo game.
On 07 November 2014, the Sangguniang Bayan conducted an investigation and recommended to Chan that the operator be stopped from further extracting sand and gravel from the river.
In its Resolution, the Ombudsman stated that “the inaction particularly of respondent mayor on the recommendation of the committee to stop CSE builders from extracting sand, gravel and other minerals is an indication of respondent mayor’s manifest partiality and gross inexecusable negligence.”
Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 provides that it shall be unlawful for public officials to cause any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. ###