Cojuango wins guv race if Espino is suspended – analyst
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
A political analyst opined that former Congressman Mark Cojuangco would be the shoo-in winner in the May 9 governorship election in case the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division issues a warrant of arrest and metes a preventive suspension next month against Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr.
The analyst, who asked for anonymity, said the political landscape of the 44 towns and three cities province would be more favorable to Cojuangco because after he is meted a 60-day suspension that could probably start on April.
“Imagine, running the Capitol as acting governor would be (Vice Governor) Ferdinand Calimlim and his chief of staff Darwina while the suspended governor deals with the media fallout on his warrant of arrest with a bail of thirty thousand pesos for each of the two counts on the illegal mining case,” he said.
Espino, dismissed provincial officials Rafael Barraan and Alvin Bigay were indicted by the Ombudsman last January with violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti Graft & Corrupt Practices Acts) after the governor issued a Mineral Ore Export Permit to Xypher Builders Inc. which permitted it to sell the illegally mined minerals to DH-Kingstone Holdings Co. Ltd. based in China for P10.750 million.
Under the complaint affidavit, the provincial government allegedly issued Small Scale Mining Permits (SSMP) to Oil Ventures Inc. and Xypher in 2011 even though they lacked the necessary clearance certificates and accreditation.
The SSMP allowed both Alexandra and Xypher to illegally conduct soil, magnetite and mineral extraction activities in Barangay Sabangan in Lingayen.
He said after the newly created Sandiganbayan Sixth Division took jurisdiction of the graft and corruption case last May 18, the determination of the probable cause by the Ombudsman is usually upheld by the Division.
“Then warrant of arrest is issued and the 60-day preventive suspension starts,” he stressed.
Sandiganbayan handles all criminal cases involving public officials starting from Salary Grade 27 from the city mayor and provincial governor and above.
Espino’s son and namesake is running in the May 9 governorship election against Cojuangco in the almost three-million population province.
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