Oct 5, 2020 @ 11:21

SC affirms graft conviction of Duterte party’s Bohol head over zoning clearance issue

The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the graft conviction of former Panglao, Bohol, mayor Doloreich Dumaluan, a local head of President Rodrigo Duterte’s political party, in connection with his refusal to issue a zoning clearance to a resort operator.

In a recent 10-page minute resolution, the SC 1st Division upheld the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division’s October 27, 2016 decision sentencing him to imprisonment of 6 years and 1 month to a maximum of 10 years and perpetually disqualifying him from public office.

Dumaluan was found guilty of violating Section 3(f) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for unjustifiably refusing to act on the application of Bohol Beach Club (BBC) for a “locational certification” in 2005.

He claimed he had reason not to issue the certification because he allegedly owned the lot eyed for BBC’s expansion. His Dumaluan Beach Resort shared the same stretch of white sand as BBC.

The SC, however, noted that BBC “fully complied with the requirements” for the certification. It stressed that the certification required a “fair and uncomplicated procedure” and the business only needed to submit pertinent documents and pay the corresponding fees.

It rejected Dumaluan’s argument that what Executive Order Number 72 required him to issue was a “locational clearance” and not a “locational certification.” It noted there was no difference between the two, except for the fact that the document was called a “locational certification” because Panglao had no comprehensive land use plan (CLUP) at the time.

Not only did Dumaluan fail to act without justification, his omission was motivated by “any gain or benefit for himself.”

“BBC’s application for the same should have been approved by petitioner were it not for his own vested interest in the property in question,” read the minute resolution signed by Division Clerk of Court Librada Buena.

Dumaluan was the president of the Bohol chapter of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan. In 2018, he figured in a leadership dispute with then-Vice-Governor Dionisio Balite, who claimed to be appointed as local chairman.

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