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Dismissed Nueva Ecija mayor reinstated but still faces jail time

Oct 21, 2015 @ 0:37

Former Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija mayor Lucio Uera has been reinstated by the Court of Appeals (CA) eight months after being removed from office over a grave misconduct case.

In an October 13 resolution, the CA stood firm on its earlier decision that reversed the February 6 dismissal order issued by the Office of the Ombudsman on Uera.

The Ombudsman found Uera liable for grave misconduct and grave abuse of authority when he suspended and then terminated the employment of 44 permanent municipal employees nine years ago.

The appellate court junked the Ombudsman’s appeal, saying the anti-graft office failed to raise new arguments that would warrant the reconsideration of its decision.

Uera urged Vice Mayor Ruben Huerta, who assumed the post following his dismissal, to vacate his office immediately.

“I know this might be far from over but I urge all parties to respect the court’s decision. I will continue to work for the citizens of Pantabangan,” Uera was quoted in a Philippine Star story.

While he was cleared in the grave abuse of authority charges, Uera was recently sentenced by the Sandiganbayan to six years in jail for granting a contract to a company where his wife was a stockholder and incorporator.

In a 19-page decision promulgated October 13, the court found Uera guilty of graft for awarding an anomalous contract to Priva Power and Allied Services Inc. for the management of the Pantabangan Municipal Electric System in March 2002.

The court said the contract is illegal because Uera’s wife is a stockholder, incorporator, and director of Priva. The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act prohibits public officials from having any pecuniary interests in government transactions under his or her office.

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