Sandiganbayan affirms ex-Siquijor governor's obstruction conviction

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2018 02:53 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan has affirmed its decision to convict former Siquijor Governor Orlando Fua Jr. of obstruction of justice after he interfered and delayed the arrest of a barangay chairman supposedly caught selling illegal drugs.

The anti-graft court's 7th Division has upheld its decision last Jan. 19 barring Fua from holding any public office and ordering him to pay a fine of P6,000 for meddling in the arrest of James Largo, a village chief who happens to be his neighbor and “childhood friend.”

“Wherefore, premises considered, accused Orlando Anoos Fua Jr.’s, motion for reconsideration of the decision promulgated is denied for lack of merit,” the court said in its decision.

In his junked reconsideration plea, Fua had said he was unfairly prejudged as guilty to the crime, arguing that his actions such as inquiring why the warrant against Largo was served at night were within the bounds of the law.

The prosecution countered that there is no truth to Fua's claim that he did not interfere with the police search, during which he was present. 

“Obviously, accused’s unnecessary presence in the scene of operation coupled with his unwarranted demeanor during the search showed his intention to interfere in the service of the search warrant against Largo, who was his childhood friend,” the court said.

The court also noted that it was even "emphatic" on Fua since he was only meted with the minimum penalty of a fine.