Mayor Paulino seeks to quash graft charge
By James Hernandez
Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Calixto Paulino of Zambales has asked the Sandiganbayan 7th Division to quash the graft charge against concerning the alleged anomalous lease and development of the Olongapo City Civic Center
In his motion to quash, Paulino argued that the graft offenses does not apply to Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) deals.
“The Information is silent as to why it presupposes that the lease agreement is covered by the BOT law considering that this law only covers specific contractual agreements which do not include a straight lease agreement,” his motion read.
The case stemmed from the lease and development of the Olongapo City Civic Center to SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) from 2014 to 2015.
The Office of the Ombudsman which filed the case alleged that the deal violated existing laws, particularly the Act Authorizing the Financing, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of Infrastructure Projects by the Private Sector, as amended,and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
Under the rules, any proposed unsolicited project must be endorsed to the Investment Coordination Committee and the National Economic and Development Administration (NEDA) and the draft lease agreement submitted for review to the Office of the Government Corporate Council (OGCC).
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