Mayor couple in Cebu charged over town’s deals with family’s bakery
The embattled Moreno couple who successively served as mayors of Aloguinsan, Cebu, have been charged in the Sandiganbayan over the municipality’s purchases of food supplies worth P282,725 from a bakery owned by the wife.
Former Mayors Cynthia and Augustus Moreno were accused of conflict of interest in the purchases from the former’s business, AVG Bakeshop, from February to August 2010.
Besides Cynthia’s pecuniary interest in the transaction, the municipality also failed to conduct public bidding and resorted to the splitting of contracts.
Cynthia was still mayor when the town paid P78,375 to her own bakery. A second tranche of P204,350 was released in payment for the food supplies from the same bakery when her husband Augustus got elected as her replacement.
Cynthia and Augustus were charged with one count each of violating Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits officials from having a financial or pecuniary interest in a government transaction involving their office.
Cynthia also faces one count of violation of Section 9 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, over her alleged failure to divest herself of her interest in the bakery, which was a sole proprietorship registered in her name.
The couple were also charged with one count each of violating Section 3(e) of the graft law for causing undue injury to the government and giving unwarranted benefits to the wife’s bakery.
Bids and awards committee chairs Pepito Maguilimotan and Nonela Villegas, and members Marilyn Flordeliza, Gerturdes Ababon and Evangeline Manigos were also named coaccused in two charges of violating Section 3(e) of the graft law.
The bail recommendation for the couple — P50,000 for Cynthia’s three cases and P40,000 for Augustus’ two cases — was lower than the P60,000 set for their subordinates.
This is because the bail for the offense of causing undue injury to the government is higher than that for cases of conflict of interest.
Cynthia, already convicted of graft in a separate case, has eluded authorities who have been trying to arrest her since last February.
The Sandiganbayan First Division ordered her arrest following her 2014 conviction over a case involving the procurement of P1.19 million worth of construction materials without public bidding in August 2007.
Augustus was elected mayor in 2016 but had to resign in February before the Ombudsman’s order dismissing him from the position in connection with the bakery case could be served.
The couple’s son, Vice Mayor Cesare Ignatius Moreno, took over as mayor.
Aloguinsan is a fourth class municipality located 59 km southwest of Cebu City.
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