No hostile witness for Toledo City ex-mayor

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    THE Sandiganbayan has denied a motion filed by former senator and Toledo City ex-mayor John Henry Osmeña asking that former city treasurer Leonardo Rivera Jr. be declared a hostile witness for the defense in the continuation of trial in six counts of graft cases pending against him.

    Citing lack of basis to grant the motion, the court noted that Rivera had previously been called to the witness stand to testify for the prosecution and Osmeña already had his opportunity to proffer questions.

    Osmeña is facing six cases of graft pertaining to allegations of unlawful refusal to release the quarterly real property tax (RPT) shares of Barangay Daanlungsod totaling P17.733 million for the last two quarters of 2014 and the whole of 2015 which caused undue injury to its residents.

    The former mayor has requested the prosecution to admit that when he issued a holder order on the release of the RPT to Barangay Daanglungsod on March 19, 2015, it had had a boundary dispute with Barangay Sangi lodged before the Court of Appeals.

    The defendant said the “punt on hold” order was to preserve public funds since there has been no confirmation as to who between the two barangays should receive the RPT.

    He likewise sought admission that he was the one who proposed that the two barangays equally share the RPT shares.