Ex Quezon Bukidnon mayor permanently banned from running for public office

The Supreme Court has upheld an earlier ruling by the Sandiganbayan finding former Municipality of Quezon, Bukidnon mayor Stewart Leonardo guilty of graft and corruption over a purchase of trucks.

The Supreme Court ruling, dated February 3 and made public on March 19, 2021, stated that the former mayor was found guilty of violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, also known as the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and “accordingly, sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment for six years and one month, as minimum, to 10 years, as maximum.”

Leonardo has also been permanently disqualified from holding public office.

Bukidnon Online first wrote about this in 2015. Leonardo himself did not deny the charges and claimed that it was “an honest mistake.”

Based on the Ombudsman investigation, then-mayor Leonardo joined an auction in 2010 at the Subic Freeport Zone, and purchased four surplus dump trucks, 10-wheeler trucks, road grader, a cargo truck, a brand new vibratory compactor, and a surplus bulldozer — all worth P6.3 million — for his local government.

However, in the same auction, Leonardo bought for personal use some equipment, including a 10-wheeler truck and excavator, using the bid book and bid deposit of the municipality, the statement said.

“It was also shown that Leonardo appropriated for his benefit the municipality’s bid deposit of P100,000 which was supposed to be deducted from the total price of the equipment purchased by the municipality,” the investigation report said.

The Ombudsman, quoting the resolution, said Leonardo “took advantage of his position when he had these equipment shipped and transported, together with the equipment procured by the municipality from Subic to his residence in Bukidnon.”

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