Ex-San Miguel, Bulacan mayor convicted of graft for illegal collections
MANILA, Philippines–The Sandiganbayan has convicted former San Miguel, Bulacan mayor Edmundo Buencamino of two counts of graft for illegally collecting “pass way fees.”
According to an Ombudsman statement citing a 27-page decision penned by Associate Justice Napoleon Inoturan, Buencamino is sentenced to six to eight years imprisonment for each count of graft. He was also perpetually disqualified from seeking public office.
Buencamino through former barangay (village) captain Robert Tabernero collected P1,000 from mining operators as “pay way fee” for each trucks traversing San Miguel when he was mayor in 2004.
The collection was made even without any ordinance or resolution by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial council).
Buencamino also did not completely remit the proceeds to the local treasury.
The Sandiganbayan ruled that the injury is “the act of imposing tax on a subject that is outside of the legal authority of a municipality as provided under the Local Government Code of 1991” and that it was made “without any legal basis but upon his whims and caprices.”
“Buencamino imposed and collected payment for pass way fee knowing fully well that he is without authority of law, decree, ordinance or resolution to do so,” read the decision cited in the Ombudsman statement.
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