THE Sandiganbayan has convicted former Butuan City councilor Sergio Pascual on one count of usurpation of official functions for authorizing the demolition of structures in 2013 despite lack of authority to do so from the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Second Division chairman Oscar C. Herrera and Associate Justices Michael Frederick L. Musngi and Lorifel Lacap Pahimna sentenced Pascual to imprisonment of six months to four years and ordered him to pay private complainant Potenciano Malvar the amount of P30,000 by way of compensation for damages to his property.
The defendant, who testified that he is known as the city’s “Action Man” and “Superman of the poor,” admitted that he instructed an employee of his construction company to use a payloader to remove concrete posts and tear down a wall outside the Butuan City Hall main entrance because he considered said structures a nuisance.
Malvar, testifying for the prosecution, explained that his family owns the Malvar Subdivision measuring 30 hectares, which includes the site of the Butuan City Hall complex that occupies 3.7 hectares.
He said the concrete barrier that was demolished was erected to protect the private property and regulate access to the residential subdivision.
Pascual disputed this, saying the compromise agreement between the Malvars and the local government mentioned nothing about allowing the family to construct such wall at the entry point to the city hall complex.
However, he acknowledged that he was unfamiliar with the rule requiring a resolution from the city council before any kind of demolition can be undertaken.
Aside from the absence of permit from the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the court likewise noted that the barriers did not pose any danger, no government project was planned on site, and there was no court order to remove said structures.
“Said accused claims that he, as a city councilor who had been known in Butuan City as the “Action Man” and “Superman ng mga pobre”, ordered the removal of the concrete barriers.
Accused Pascual performed a task without color of law,” the Sandiganbayan said.