MANILA, Philippines – For her failure to issue a business permit on a woman whom she had a misunderstanding, the former mayor of Masantol town in Pampanga got six to 10 years jail term.
The Sandiganbayan found former mayor Corazon Lacap guilty for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Fermina Santos, who applied for Mayor’s Permit in 1999 and 2000 but was apparently snubbed by Lacap.
Santos narrated their rift started when she filed a case against Lacap’s friend, Abelardo Dizon. She said the mayor asked her to withdraw the complaint against Dizon but she rejected the request.
Prompted by Lacap’s refusal to act on her business application, Santos went to the Ombudsman, which sent a notice to Lacap on April 26, 1999 and forwarded all the documents necessary for the issuance of the permit.
Lacap however failed to act on the application, informing the Ombudsman that no document has ever reached her office.
But the graft court found that all elements of offense are present in the case, and that the evidences of the prosecution are sufficient to convict Lacap.
“Public officials are called upon to act expeditiously on matters pending before them. Inaction brings to a standstill the administrative process and the plaintiff is left in the darkness of uncertainty,” the court ruled.
While the Sandiganbayan said that the case “was triggered by the personal animosity”, Lacap should be mindful that she is a public official who is enjoined to respond to the call of her duty.