By Kit Bagaipo
The Bohol Chronicle
The Ombudsman finds no probable cause to withdraw graft and corruption charges it has filed at the Sandiganbayan against Board Member Josil Trabajo and former Carmen Mayor Pedro Budiongan.
This ruling was contained in a resolution by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) after a motion for reconsideration was filed by Trabajo and Budiongan at the anti-graft body last February 18, 2008.
If found guilty of the graft charges, Trabajo and Budiongan could be sentenced a 12 to 20-year imprisonment.
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Valeriano Nadala Sr., Domingo Painagan and Renato Delgado Sr. against the former Carmen officials on November 2003 for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and illegal quarrying.
The complainants accused Budiongan and Trabajo, then the town's mayor and vice mayor, for taking advantage of their positions and conniving to extract quarry materials in a protected area and selling the same to the municipal government out of its local funds.
The former Carmen officials undertook a road improvement project "with their common purpose of having a financial interest in the project," the complainants said.
In their motion for reconsideration, the two former Carmen officials both denied the charges.
Budiongan claimed he was already a businessman of good standing even before he became vice mayor and later mayor.
Trabajo is currently serving a 90-day suspension from the provincial board for a criminal case also decided by the Sandiganbayan and is temporarily out on bail. He said in his counter affidavit that he did not intervene in his official capacity for the municipality of Carmen to buy quarry materials (anapog) from him.