By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
Former Indang, Cavite Mayor Bienvenido Dimero has been convicted of graft by the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division for allowing a company to build a water filtration plant and perform ground clearing and excavation activities despite non-compliance with municipal regulations.
Dimero was found guilty for violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and was sentenced to six years and one month imprisonment as minimum to 10 years imprisonment as maximum. He was also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
According to court records, sometime in July 2012, Dimero reportedly gave unwarranted benefit, advantage and preference to PTK2 H2O Corporation by allowing the company to build its water filtration plant at the Ikloy River in Kayquit II, Indang, Cavite.
They were allowed to perform ground-clearing, excavation and water pipeline-laying activities within the same municipality despite non-compliance with municipal regulations on issuance of permits, licenses or clearances.
During the trial, the anti-graft court learned that Dimero had known all along that the corporation conducted the activities without first obtaining the necessary permits, license or clearance from the municipal government.
Despite this, Dimero never made any effort to stop its activities. He did issue cease and desist orders against the corporation, but for the court, it “appears dubious and is a feeble attempt to pass the buck, so to speak.”
“Even if, as he insists, he only came to know about the construction activities being undertaken by the corporation sometime in 2013, still, it does not detract from the fact that, in spite of the abovementioned powers granted by law for him to do so, he has failed to perform his duties as municipal mayor to prevent the corporation,” the court ruled.
At the same time, the court believed Dimero showed manifest partiality to the corporation.
“His tolerance of the corporation’s unauthorized activities places the latter in a more favorable position than other individuals or entities that have to apply and pay for the proper permits, license and clearance from the municipality prior to the conduct of their business or activity,” the decision read.
The 17-page decision was penned by Associate Justice Reynaldo Cruz with the concurrence of Chairperson Alex Quiroz and Associate Justice Bayani Jacinto.