MANILA - Aside from his campaign for a congressional seat in Pangasinan, Governor Amado Espino Jr. will also be busy defending himself from two counts of graft for allegedly allowing black sand mining operations in Lingayen Gulf and permitting the export of P10.750 million worth of minerals to China in 2011.
In the case filed before the Sandiganbayan on Monday, the Ombudsman accused Espino of conspiring with Provincial Administrator Rafael Baraan, Provincial Housing and Homesite Regulation Officer Alvin Bigay and 13 private individuals in illegally issuing permits to Alexandra Mining and Oil Ventures Inc. and Xypher Builder Inc. on separate occasions in 2011.
Espino allegedly granted a small-scale mining permit to Alexandria Mining and Oil Ventures Inc. on June 29, 2011, and a gratuitous permit to Xypher Builders Inc. on August 8, 2011.
The permits allowed these companies to extract magnetite and minerals in the protected area of Barangay Sabangan, Lingayen Gulf.
A mineral export permit to Xypher Builders Inc. also allowed the export of extracted minerals to China, through its buyer, DH-Kingstone Holdings Co. Ltd.
The Ombudsman pointed out that permits should had been denied since both companies were not accredited by the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board, and lacked clearance from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
Aside from Espino, Baraan and Bigay, also respondents are board of directors of Alexandra Mining and Oil Ventures Inc. including Cesar Detera, Edwin Alcazar, Lolita Bolayog, Denise Ann Sia Kho Po, Annlyn Detera, Cynthia Detera-Camara, Glenn Subia, and Emiliano Buenavista.
The board of directors of Xypher Builders Inc., namely Michael Ramirez, Gina Alcazar, Avery Pujol, Cynthia Detera-Camara, and Lolita Bolayog, also face charges.