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Former Samar mayor charged with graft

By Czarina Nicole O. Ong

Former Hinabangan Samar Mayor Alejandro Navual Abarratigue has been charged with graft before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division for allegedly purchasing a lot for the municipality without the approval of the Sangguniang Bayan.

Also charged in the case were former municipal treasurer Raul Roberto Tapia and administrative officer II Analiza Mabonga Bagro.

According to the Ombudsman, Abarratigue purchased Lot 387-E from the heirs of Isidro A. Abarracoso for P500,000 on Aug. 12, 2008.

Tapia certified the availability of funds in a disbursement voucher and signed the check used for the purchase.

Bagro, on the other hand, received the check for and in behalf of Abarracoso.

Investigation revealed, however, the deal was not authorized by the Municipal Council of Hinabangan.

“The purchase of lot by respondents was anomalous. It was done without the imprimatur of the SB (Municipal Council) of Hinabangan, Western Samar,” said the Ombudsman.

Section 3(e) of RA 3019 prohibits public officials from Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.

Only last July, the Ombudsman found Abarratigue, Tapia, and Bagro guilty of grave misconduct stemming from the same issue.

The three were ordered dismissed from service and were meted the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and forfeiture of retirement benefits.