News Briefs: Zambales mayor charged for not issuing business permits
State prosecutors have formally charged a Zambales mayor before the Sandiganbayan for refusing to issue a business permit to two mining firms in 2011, even as they complied with the requirements.
Santa Cruz Mayor Luisito Marty faces two counts of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and one count of usurpation of legislative powers under the Revised Penal Code.
Marty allegedly had no legal basis in refusing to grant a business permit to DMCI’s Zambales Diversified Metals Corp. as well as Zambales Chromite Mining Company Inc. in April 2011, according to the Ombudsman. His actions allegedly caused undue injury to the two firms, which were prevented from conducting operations in the area. —Vince F. Nonato
Sandigan junks graft cases vs Falcons of Surigao del Sur
The Sandiganbayan has thrown out the graft charges against former Surigao del Sur 2nd District Reps. Jesnar and Peter Paul Jed Falcon due to unreasonable delays on the part of the Office of the Ombudsman.
In a seven-page resolution, the Sandiganbayan First Division said it took a “protracted period” of five years and eight months to resolve the cases at the Ombudsman’s level before they were brought to the antigraft court in November.
The elder Falcon was indicted for graft for allegedly approving the procurement of 113 units of Suzuki Chariot Powercabs in 2003 without public bidding.
His son and successor was accused of funneling P13.1 million from his pork barrel allocations in 2005 to Kabus Foundation, Inc., where he was an incorporator and chairman. —Vince F. Nonato
Pagcor closes Casablanca casino in Clark
CLARK FREEPORT—The state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has ordered the closure of the Casablanca Casino in Hotel Stotsenberg here for not fulfilling its escrow requirement.
Pagcor chair Andrea Domingo said the company was granted several extensions but had not put up the whole escrow amount. She said Casablanca was short by about P225 million.
Carmelo Lazatin, a former Pampanga lawmaker and majority owner of Hotel Stotsenberg, blamed the Australian firm, Frontier Capital Group Limited (FCG), which was buying Stotsenberg Leisure and Hotel Corp. for $26 million, for not complying with the commitment. —Tonette Orejas
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