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Sandiganbayan upholds Nueva Vizcaya mayor Pasigian’s graft conviction

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The Sandiganbayan 5th Division has remained firm in convicting Alfonso Castaneda, Nueva Vizcaya Mayor Jerry Pasigian for graft over the anomalous purchase of a sports utility vehicle (SUV) worth P1.35 million in 2009.

“No new matter having been alleged in the instant motion assailing the decision of December 6, 2018, thus, the court finds no persuasive reason to reconsider,” read its resolution which junked his motion for reconsideration.

In its December 2018 decision, the anti-graft court found Pasigian guilty of graft and malversation.

With this, Pasigian was sentenced to imprisonment of at least six years and one month for his graft conviction and at least four years and five months for malversation.

The court also ordered him to pay a fine of P453,213.19 which represents the depreciated value of the vehicle.

Under the charges, Pasigian is accused of giving unwarranted benefit to Gilbert Arellano from whom the vehicle was purchased from without holding a public bidding.

Pasigian also registered the vehicle under his name instead of the local government.

The court pointed out “accused’s bad faith can be deduced not only from its purchase without public bidding, but from the fact that the vehicle was registered in his name after its purchase shown in the Deed of Sale.”

It added Pasigian cannot deny this since he paid for the fees and transfer of the vehicle himself as well as sold the Patrol to a certain Ben Polig who made an initial payment of P250,000.

“When the accused was pressed for the surrender of the vehicle to the municipality, he was able to return the vehicle after retrieving the same from Mr. Polig with whom he exchanged his L-200 pickup,” the court said.

“He cannot, therefore, claim to have clean hands in his dealings with the subject vehicle when glaringly it was otherwise,” it ruled.

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