By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
San Jose Mayor Nelson Ruiz, who was elected to the post in 2016 after previously holding the position from 2007 to 2010, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Sandiganbayan Seventh Division in violation of RA 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Negros Oriental mayor is also perpetually barred from running for public office.
According to the decision, signed by Associate Justice Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta, during his previous term, Ruiz allowed for the construction of a cockpit on land he owned without the approval of the town council.
“This places accused Ruiz in the center of an irregular transaction he had an interest in,” the decision read.
The decision also accused the mayor of bending the rules in order to issue a permit for the said venue.
Meanwhile, Susan Logronio, Ruiz’ daughter, was mentioned in the case as she was reportedly seen operating as a cashier for the facility and was found to have been paid requisite fees for her duties. However, the Sandiganbayan stated it does not prove she was an official employee of the establishment.
In addition, the town’s incumbent vice mayor is Mel Nick Logronio./DGB, WDJ