Negros Oriental exec convicted over using cops as muscle in land dispute
by Allan Yves Briones
Negros Oriental Provincial Administrator Richard Enojo could likely spend the next decade in prison for reportedly using policemen to triumph in a local land dispute.
According to the Sandiganbayan 5th Division, the provincial official committed graft in inducing officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Dauin Police Station in 2013 to invite three private individuals to a conference.
“It was clearly beyond the scope of the law enforcement powers of the police,” the anti-graft court ruled in a 41-page decision.
Section 3(a) of Republic Act No. 3019 clearly prohibits public officers from persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer, in this case local police, “to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulation or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter.”
During the trial, Enojo defended his actions by explaining that, at the time, he was yet to be appointed as the provincial administrator which would come almost a year later.
Instead, when he made the request, he was merely a claimant to an eighth of the contested parcel of land.
However, the anti-graft court dismissed his arguments for being “untenable.”
“Based on the Information, the accused is sued as ‘a high-ranking public official being then the OIC, Provincial Legal Officer/Provincial Administrator of the Province of Negros Oriental,’ not exclusively as ‘Provincial Administrator,'” the decision read.
In addition, on the grounds of the Dauin police chief’s testimony, the court ruled that Enojo did indeed influence police officials to act beyond their powers and functions.
Enojo is also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
Undersigned in the decision are Division Chairperson Rafael Lagos and Associate Justices Ma. Theresa Mendoza-Arcega and Maryann E. Corpus-Mañalac