By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Following the decision by the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the graft case filed against Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia and eight other city officials over the P50 million purchase of furniture and fixtures for the Bacolod City Government Center in 2008, the mayor said such charges are a part of serving as a public official.
He referred to the matter, “Part of the challenges he has to face.”
Leonardia said, with the case out of the way, he can now concentrate on his work as mayor, admitting the issue had become a hindrance.
The Sandiganbayan Fourth Division earlier dismissed the case, stating they rejected the findings of the Office of the Ombudsman relative to the petitioner’s liability for grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty.
Aside from Leonardia, charges were also dismissed against city officials Goldwyn Nifras, Luzviminda Treyes, Nelson Sedillo, Sr., Belly Aguillon, Eduardo Ravena, Aladino Agbones, Jaries Ebenizer Encabo, and Melvin Recabar.
The Sandiganbayan decision, signed by Associate Justice Alex Quiroz, also lifted hold departure orders against the respondents./DGB, WDJ