Sandiganbayan orders lifetime ban for ex-gov

The Sandiganbayan is perpetually disqualifying former Siquijor governor Orlando Fua, Jr. from holding public office after he was found guilty of obstruction of justice.

The anti-graft court found that Fua had interfered and caused the delay of the arrest of a barangay chairman caught selling methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu.”

In a 27-page ruling written by Associate Justice Zaldy Trespeses and promulgated on Friday, the Sandiganbayan Seventh Division punished Fua with perpetual disqualification from holding public office and ordered him to pay a PHP6,000 fine.

“Wherefore, premises considered, the court finds accused Orlando Anos Fua Jr. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of obstruction of justice in violation of Section 1(e) of Presidential Decree No. 1829. He is hereby sentenced to pay a fine of P6,000 and in case of insolvency, shall be required to undergo subsidiary imprisonment,” the Sandiganbayan ruling said.

Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta and Bayani Jacinto.

Fua was accused of using his position to “impede, frustrate, and delay” police from serving James Largo with an arr est warrant at 2 a.m. on Nov. 24, 2010.

Largo was barangay captain of Tigbawan in Lazi town at the time.

The charge was based on a complaint filed by Police Inspector Reynaldo Valmoria, who led the arresting team.

The Office of the Ombudsman said the complaint was bolstered by the testimonies of Police Officer (PO) 3 Samuel Ocao, PO2 Marve Balay-og, PO2 Jeralf Paghacian, and PO1 Dynichee Tupac.

The Ombudsman dismissed Fua’s argument that he went to help Largo because he lives nearby and saw that the police were conducting the search improperly.

Fua also questioned the validity of the warrant against Largo, who is also his childhood friend. (PNA)