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Former governor and five other officials found guilty in graft case

Group abused power by buying ‘underwater’ property in Cebu, central Philippines, says ombudsman

Gulf News

Manila: Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, suspended from her office in Cebu, central Philippines, and five other provincial officials, were found guilty of abuse of power in purchasing a property that was mostly under water, in 2008, the Ombudsman’s office said on Monday.

Garcia, four members of the provincial appraisal committee, and a provincial budget officer, were found guilty of grave misconduct in purchasing in 2008 a 24-hectare property for P98.9 million (Dh8.24 million), despite 20 hectares being underwater, the Ombudsman said, adding the case against them will be elevated to the Sandiganbayan, an anti-graft court.

The case filed against Garcia was not implemented because of her election as a local government official in 2010.

Earlier, Garcia said she did not realise that her office bought a property that was under water because of the technical mistake allegedly committed by the local government’s appraisal committee.

The property was described in the local government’s record as a breach front. It is now being developed as a coal ash waste landfill.

This case was the reason why she was suspended for six months from her office.

As this was imposed, she stayed inside the Cebu Provincial Capitol while waiting for the Court of Appeals’ response to her pleads for reconsideration.