Ex-Aloguinsan, Cebu mayor faces up to 20 years in prison

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital | February 23,2022 - 04:00 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Sandiganbayan has ordered the arrest of former public officials, including a mayor, in Aloguinsan town in western Cebu.

The Third Division of the Sandiganbayan sentenced former Mayor Augustus Caesar Moreno and a certain Evangeline Manigos up to a total of 20 years in imprisonment.

They were also barred from returning to public office. 

The state’s anti-graft court found Moreno and Manigos, a former member of Aloguinsan’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), ‘guilty beyond reasonable doubt’ for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. 

They were among those accused in the accumulated purchase of more than P200,000 worth of food from a bakeshop owned by the Morenos using municipal government funds in 2010. 

The decision was promulgated on February 22, 2022, and was signed by Associate Justice Ronald Moreno. 

Also named as accused were the former town vice mayor and Moreno’s wife, Cynthia, and other ex-BAC members namely Pepito Maguilimotan, Nonela Villegas, Marilyn Flordeliza, and Gertrudes Ababon, and all remain at large, the court said. 

“Since the Court has not acquired jurisdiction over the persons of accused Cynthia Go Moreno, Pepito A. Maguilimotan, Nonela N. Villegas, Marilyn P. Flordeliza, and Gertrudes D. Ababon as they remain at-large, the cases against them are hereby ordered archived, the same to be revived upon their arrest. Let the appropriate warrants of arrest be issued against the said accused,” portions of the ruling stated. 

The Moreno couple faced graft charges in 2018. 

Based on the 38-page ruling, when Cynthia was the Aloguinsan mayor, she allegedly awarded their family-owned AVG Bakeshop, a contract for the procurement of food supplies from April 26 to July 30, 2010. 

Caesar continued Cynthia’s practice when he took over as town mayor on the same year.

A total of P287,725 worth of municipal funds were spent to buy food items from the bakeshop in question. 

According to the Sandiganbayan, Caesar ‘actually participated or intervened in his official capacity in connection with the interest in the transactions of the municipality of Aloguinsan with AVG Bakeshop.’

“His participation is evident throughout the procurement process, from initiating the procurement of food supplies to signing the disbursement vouchers and other procurement documents. He signed and approved the procurements documents, thereby showing his actual intervention to the transactions,” the court said.

“As Municipal Mayor and Head of Procuring Entity, his participation was indispensable considering that the award of contracts and payment to AVG Bakeshop could not have been made without his signature and approval,” it added. 

Aloguinsan is a fourth-class municipality located approximately 57 kilometers southwest of Cebu City. 

/bmjo

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