Court convicts DENR employee of graft
07 March 2018
The Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 12 of Cebu City convicted Edwin Atentar, Special Land Investigator of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office–Department of Environment and Natural Resources for violation of Section 3(c) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019). He was sentenced to imprisonment of six years and one month to 10 years and six months with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
Records show that in March 2006, Atentar received P8,000.00 from private complainant, Virgilia Seguerra, in exchange for the processing of the latter’s Miscellaneous Sale Application (MSA) for a lot located in San Isidro, Talisay City. Seguerra narrated that Atentar initially demanded P100,000.00 to process the MSA, however, as the price was too steep, Seguerra requested that the payment be made on a staggered basis. After waiting for several months without any update on the application, Seguerra demanded that Atentar return the money. In August 2006, Atentar was able to return only P5,000.00 as evidenced by a receipt acknowledged and signed by him.
In the RTC’s Judgment of 08 February 2018, Presiding Judge Estela Alma Singco ruled that “as shown in the testimony of prosecution witness Seguerra, accused went twice to the university where she was teaching for no apparent reason than to demand money. This was never refuted by accused. More telling is accused’s persistence in obtaining the money for purported occupation fee although he has no authority to accept the same.”
Judge Singco also ordered Atentar to return the remaining amount of P3,000.00 to Seguerra.
Section 3(c) of R.A. No. 3019 prohibits public officials from directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present or other pecuniary or material benefit, for himself or for another, from any person for whom the public officer, in any manner or capacity, has secured or obtained, or will secure or obtain, any Government permit or license, in consideration for the help given or to be given. ###