Newly elected town mayor in Bohol remains at large after issuance of arrest warrant
CEBU CITY, Philippines — A warrant of arrest has been issued against newly elected Alicia, Bohol Mayor Marnilou Ayuban, prior to his assumption into office.
Police Lieutenant Wilson Orapa, chief of police of the Alicia Municipal Police Station in Bohol, confirmed this to CDN Digital in a phone interview on Thursday, July 7, 2022.
Orapa said Ayuban remains at large after the issuance of the arrest warrant against him. The warrant, he said, was issued upon probable cause to an anti-graft and corruption charges filed against the Mayor.
“Naa siya (Yes, there’s an arrest warrant). Ang sitwasyon ana gud…naka apilar man gud na siya unya na deny ang ilang appeal, so maong nahitabo ni issue og warrant of arrest ang RTC judge,” he told CDN Digital.
“At large pa…kay una una man gud ni siya nahibawo before uploading sa warrant sa among warrant system, mas una silang nahibawo nga naay mugawasay,” he added.
Judge Jorge Espinal of the Regional Trial Court Branch 51 in Carmen, Bohol, issued an arrest warrant for Ayuban and former councilors Paul Villas, the current municipal budget officer, and Eusebio Ayuban Jr. on June 16, 2022.
Ayuban, through an Office Memorandum Order No. 1, series of 2022 dated June 30, 2022, designated Municipal Administrator Junavie Piquero as officer-in-charge of the Mayor’s Office from June 30, 2022 to July 15, 2022.
Ayuban is also facing a disqualification case and a petition to cancel his certificate of candidacy filed by his opponent, former mayor Victoriano Torres III, before the Commission on Elections in Manila.
Following the May 9, 2022 elections, Torres filed a quo waranto case before the RTC in Carmen, Bohol, claiming material misrepresentation for Ayuban’s failure to declare his case in his COC.
Ayuban, along with seven others, were convicted of anti-graft charges in 2002 while serving as town councilor.
The case stemmed from a complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas by Jonathan Puracan, who was appointed councilor of Alicia by former Bohol governor Rene Relampagos in 2001.
Ayuban and seven other Sangguniang Bayan members allegedly refused to recognize Puracan as the replacement for Rogelio Balahay, who resigned from his position.
On June 27, 2016, the RTC found the eight accused guilty of the offense and sentenced each six years in prison with a lifetime ban from public office.
On May 17, 2002, then Judge Patsita Sarmiento-Gamutan of the RTC Branch 51 in Carmen, Bohol issued the warrant of arrest against Ayuban and seven others following their conviction of the charges for violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
On March 12, 2019, the Court of Appeals Special 20th Division in Cebu City affirmed with modification making the penalty of imprisonment of up to 10 years and six months as maximum with perpetual disqualification from public office.
In March 2020, the Supreme Court Second Division also denied the petition for review filed by Ayuban’s camp and the decision became final and executory on October 14, 2020 as recorded in the Book of Entries of Judgments.
The RTC denied the manifestation with a motion to stay the issuance of a warrant to enforce the judgment on June 7, 2022.
Judge Espinal then ordered that the bail bonds posted by Ayuban, Villas, and Ayuban Jr. be cancelled.
“Accused-movants Eusebio P. Ayuban, Jr., Paul B. Villas, and Marnilou S. Ayuban are ordered arrested and transferred to the Leyte Regional Prison, Abuyog, Leyte, for them to serve their respective sentences,” reads a portion of the order.
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