Pangasinan governor charged with graft over black sand mining
STATE prosecutors on Tuesday formally charged Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino Jr. with two counts of graft for allegedly issuing permits to two unqualified mining companies to mine black sand in Lingayen.
According to the graft sheet, Espino in 2011 issued two permits to Xypher Builders Inc. and Alexandra Mining and Oil Ventures Inc. to conduct soil remediation and magnetite and mineral extraction in Barangay Sabangan, Lingayen.
Prosecutors accused Espino of authorizing the issuance of mining ore export permit, gratuitous permit, and small scale mining permit to the mining firms even though these were not lawfully entitled to conduct mining activities because the companies were not registered with the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board.
The mining activities of the companies also allegedly lacked the requisite area clearance from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the prosecutors added.
In the case of Xypher, the prosecution alleged that Xypher caused undue injury to government for selling to DH Kingstone Holdings Co. Ltd. export materials to China worth P10.75 million.
Meanwhile, Alexandra allegedly did not obtain a business permit from the Lingayen municipal government.
Charged along with Espino are provincial administrator Rafael Baraan, and Provincial Housing and Homesite Regulation officer Alvin Bigay.
Also charged with graft from the Xypher Board of Directors are Michael Ramirez, Gina Alcazar, Avery Pujol, Cynthia Camara, Lolita Bolayog, as well as Cesar Detera, Edwin Alcazar, Lolita Bolayog, Denise Ann Sia Kho Po, Annlyn Detera, Cynthia Camara, Glenn Subia and Emiliano Buenavista from Alexandra Board of Directors.
Espino, whose local party is affiliated with the Liberal Party, has endorsed the Daang Matuwid coalition standard-bearer Mar Roxas for president.
Espino is fielding his son Amado “Pogi” Espino III to run as governor against former Pangasinan congressman Mark Cojuangco, who meanwhile is endorsing Jejomar Binay for president.
Meanwhile, the elder Espino would run for a congressional seat against Cojuangco’s wife incumbent Rep. Kimi Cojuangco. AC
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