Catanduanes Gov Cua indicted for graft

MANILA--The Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause to indict Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua and former Bato, Catanduanes Mayor Eulogio Rodriguez, acting in concert, for one count of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

In a Resolution issued on July 4, 2019 approved by Ombudsman Manuel Martires,  the Office ordered the corresponding Information be filed against them before the Sandiganbayan.

This stemmed from a complaint filed by Rey Mendez, who alleged that ER Construction, a company owned by Rodriguez, was allowed by Cua to use the vacant lot owned by the Province of Catanduanes free of charge and without authority granted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Said lot was used as bunkhouse for the construction company's employees as well as garage for heavy equipment and construction materials from January 2017 until March 26, 2018.

The Ombudsman ruled that the elements of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 are present in this case.
These include (1) He or she must be an officer discharging administrative, judicial or official functions; (2) He or she must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence; and (3) His or her action caused undue injury to any party, including the Government, or gave any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference in the discharge of his or her functions.

"While Cua did not categorically permit ER Construction to use the government property, his inaction is, however, tantamount to tacit approval," the Resolution reads.

"Clearly Cua acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence, and gave unwarranted benefits to ER Construction when he permitted the latter to use the subject provincial property to construct its bunkhouses, park its vehicles, and stockpile construction materials," it further explains.

"It bears emphasizing that Cua, as the chief executive of the province, is ultimately responsible for the proper management of all the properties of the province," it concluded.

The Ombudsman also added that conspiracy between Cua and Rodriguez was established by the evidence presented.

As of this writing, Cua has not issued a statement regarding the issue.