Ex- Siquijor gov Fua loses appeal to lift perpetual ban on running for public office

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The Sandiganbayan has affirmed its ruling perpetually barring former Siquijor Gov. Orlando Fua Jr. from seeking public office, denying the former official’s motion for reconsideration.

In an eight-page resolution written by Associate Justice Zaldy Trespeses and promulgated on March 2, 2018, the Sandiganbayan Seventh Division dismissed the appeal of Fua for “lack of merit” after he failed to raise new arguments in his conviction for violation of Section 1(e) of Presidential Decree No. 1829, or Penalizing Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders.

“No new matters have been raised by accused to warrant a reconsideration of the judgment rendered in this case. The arguments reiterated and later amplified, failed to convince us to vacate the Court’s assailed decision,” the Sandiganbayan said in its resolution.

Concurring were Sandiganbayan Seventh Division Chairperson Associate Justice Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta and Associate Justice Bayani Jacinto.

The anti-graft court barred Fua from seeking public office as punishment for obstruction of justice, when he delayed the service of an arrest warrant against Barangay Tigbawan chairman James Largo — his childhood friend — around 2 a.m. on Nov. 24, 2010.

The charge is based on a complaint filed by Police Insp. Reynaldo Valmoria who led the arresting team.

The Office of the Ombudsman said the complaint was bolstered by the testimonies of Police Officer 3 Samuel Ocao, PO2 Marve Balay-og, PO2 Jeralf Paghacian, and PO1 Dynichee Tupac.

The anti-graft court said the presence of Fua, which already raises questions on his motive, could have easily influenced a normal police operation against drug suspects where the province itself has no immediate concern.

In his motion for reconsideration, Fua denied this, saying that he could not influence the service of the warrant since his office has no direct concern on the matter.

Fua added he “regrets the unfairness” of the Sandiganbayan ruling and asked the anti-graft court to clarify how his presence was obstructive to authorities.

However, the anti-graft court said Fua’s arguments were “misplaced”, since his conviction wea based on documentary evidence presented during the trial of his case.

“Contrary to the contention of accused, the finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt for the offense charged was based on and/or drawn from facts, which have been established during the trial of the case,” the anti-graft court said.

“The assailed decision comprehensively detailed the testimonies of each and every witness for the prosecution and the defense. The discussion on the culpability of accused was also supported with basis and jurisprudence. Hence, the finding of guilt of accused beyond reasonable doubt,” the Sandiganbayan added. (PNA)