ESPINO ET AL ARRAIGNMENT AT SANDIGANBAYAN
Black sand mining complainant regains hope
The July 14, 2016 arraignment of former Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. for two counts of graft with the Sandiganbayan has brought back hope in the 74 year old complainant from Lingayen who is losing his eyesight.
Espino appeared before the Sandiganbayan 6th division as he filed a plea of not guilty to the two graft cases against him.
Rolando Rea, one of the complainants from the group Aro Mo Ko Sambayanan or Aromas that filed the graft case in relation to illegal extraction and trade of black sand gave up on the struggle after the Espino won as Pangasinan 5th District Representative.
“The result of the election showed that the Pangasinenses don’t deserve to be saved from the abuses of … I am stopping my pursue (pursuit) of the black sand case. It is the Pilipino people being abused by … and nobody cares. I am tired and exhausted. I have meager means to go on,” said Rea in May 15, 2016.
Rea’s fighting spirit was revived when a Hold Departure Order against Espino was issued by the Sandiganbayan 6th division and later by a warrant of arrest.
Espino has said that the case was politically motivated and has paid P60,000 bail for his temporary freedom.
Rea also denied allegations by the Espino camp that he was paid by former Pangasinan 5th District Rep. Mark Cojuangco to file the case saying that it was filed when the Espinos and the Cojuangcos were still under the Nationalist Peoples coalition.
Rea was embarrassed that the issue even reached Tanggol Kalikasan which initially helped AROMAS to file the case with the Ombudsman.
“I deny the rumors that Cojuangco paid me for the black sand (issue) and do comments and even embarrassingly reached Tanggol Kalikasan. I never met Mark (Cojuangco) but (for) a few seconds in Dagupan when mediamen introduced us,” he said.
Rea said that his resolve to continue the fight comes with the belief that the Ombudsman prosecutors assigned to help him are genuinely against environmental destruction.
He said that he stands by his word even if he dies.
“I gave my word to Tanggol Kalikasan and the Ombudsman, only a bullet will stop me,” he said.
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