Mayor tagged in scam asks Sandiganbayan to handle case

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PAGADIAN CITY—Outgoing Mayor Samuel Co is asking the Sandiganbayan to handle the case filed against him in connection with the Aman scam, saying the antigraft court is the proper venue for the trial and not an ordinary criminal court.

Ferdinand Mas Pablo, Co’s lawyer, told reporters here that the mayor took special notice of the affidavit of Julius Labunog, an alleged Aman investor, which charged Co with entering into a memorandum of agreement with Aman to collect a 4-percent tax on individual investments in Aman.

Pablo said what Labunog is alleging appears to constitute graft, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, not the sala of Pagadian Trial Court Judge Alberto Quinto.

Quinto has ordered Co’s arrest based on the estafa case filed by a special panel of prosecutors. The charge against Co was largely based on the affidavit of Labunog.

Last week, Co asked the Court of Appeals to nullify the warrant of arrest issued by Quinto for lack of jurisdiction over his case.

The outgoing mayor said even if the case is for estafa, he should be tried by the Sandiganbayan.

Co said he did not collude with Aman as his detractors accuse him of doing. Instead, Co said the city government collected only business tax from Aman, which is not unusual. Inquirer Mindanao

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