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Leyte congressman guilty of graft

Leytes incumbent 4th District Rep. Eufrocino M. Codilla Sr. was convicted Sept. 28 by the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division on two counts of graft committed while serving as Ormoc city mayor in 1993 and 1994.
The graft court sentenced Codilla to 18 years in jail and perpetual disqualification from holding public office. In its 30-page decision, the court said Codilla was guilty beyond reasonable doubt of maintaining a financial interest in Codilla Enterprises, a private quarrying firm to which he personally issued a sand-and-gravel quarry permit as city mayor. The court, however, acquitted him on two counts of misconduct, citing lack of evidence that there was conflict of interest even when Codilla was mayor and owner of the private firm. Codilla served three full terms as mayor of Ormoc City from 1992 to 2001.
The court overruled Codilla?s defense that his approval of the sand-and-gravel permit was merely ministerial and that there was no injury caused to the government or any third party. But the Sandiganbayan said, being the mayor, the defendant had the final word on whether the application for permit by his own firm would be granted or not. The court also pointed out that undue injury need not be established by the prosecution to make him liable for graft.

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