Former DENR regional director convicted over P1.5-M solicitation

Published June 4, 2018, 3:13 PM

by iManila Developer

By Czarina Nicole Ong

The Sandiganbayan Second Division has convicted former officer-in-charge regional executive director Raquil-Ali Lucman of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 12 of graft for soliciting P1.5 million in exchange of the issuance of free patents over public lands.

(Credits: Pixabay | Manila Bulletin)
(Credits: Pixabay | Manila Bulletin)

Lucman was sentenced to imprisonment of six years and one month with perpetual disqualification from holding public office for violating Section 3(c) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Records from the Office of the Ombudsman show that from September 8, 2009 to October 16, 2009, Lucman demanded and received P1.5 million from private complainants Hadji Bualan, Sergio Balolong and Aladin Saydala for the issuance of free patents over public lands located along barangays Olympog and Tambler in General Santos City.

Bualan testified during the course of the trial, which played a huge role in convincing the anti-graft court to convict Lucman. The court noted in its nine-page decision that Bualan spoke “with spontaneity and consistency and in a simple and straightforward manner.”

“Bualan gave a candid testimony before the Court. His testimonial evidence is corroborated by all the documents on record,” the decision read. “Further, the accused could not ascribe ill-motive on the part of Bualan to falsely testify against him; neither could he offer any reasonable explanation by Bualan would be interested in destroying his honor and integrity. Thus, absent any showing that the prosecution witnesses were actuated by any improper motive, their testimony is entitled to full faith and credit.”

The Sandiganbayan stressed that Lucman’s “mere demand for money for the grant of the application” definitely warrants his conviction.

Section 3(c) of R.A. No. 3019 prohibits public officials from directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present or other pecuniary or material benefit, for himself or for another, from any person in consideration for the help given or to be given.

The decision was penned by Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna and concurred by chairperson Oscar Herrera Jr. and Associate Justice Michael Frederick Musngi.