Graft investigation by ex-Occidental Mindoro mayor to continue

Sandiganbayan's second division said that the lawsuit against the former mayor Filemon Galsim of Santa Cruz, Occidental Mindoro, will continue because of the party's allegedly overpriced contract in 2012.

In a resolution promulgated on Wednesday, the anti-graft court division denied the "appeal of merit" to reject Galsim to reject his case.

Galsim is accused of transplantation for alleged violation of section 3 (g) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act when he signed a contract on behalf of the local government with a certain Teresita Asis Mercene for a 2.123 m2 plot in Barangay Poblacion II.

The Ombudsman said that the party owned by Mercene was too expensive by P260.492,10, and thus "clear and very detrimental to the government."

It was said that the plot had been purchased for P702.70 per square meter, or a total amount of P1.49 million when the prevailing market value under Sangguniang Panlungsod Resolution 43 had only a fixed price of P580 per square meter.

Galsim disputed the claim.

But the Sandiganbayan was against Galsim in his decision. "The court finds that the aforementioned averages take sufficient account of the violation of Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019. They contain all the elements that constitute the violation," according to the resolution.

Department Chair Associate Justice Oscar Herrera Jr. wrote the resolution, with the collaboration of Associate Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Lorifel Pahimna.

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