(File photo)

The Second Division of the Sandiganbayan has dismissed the graft case that was filed by a resident of San Vicente against Governor Jose Alvarez and two others for “lack of sufficient evidence” in connection with the 2004 bulk water supply deal in Cagayan de Oro City.

Provincial legal officer Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta confirmed to Palawan News on Monday the Sandiganbayan’s dismissal of the graft cases filed by Michelle Fox against Governor Alvarez, former Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) chairman Lorenzo Jamora, and former Cagayan de Oro City Water District (CDOCWD) general manager Gaspar Gonzales Jr.

He said Alvarez already expected the dismissal of the Sandiganbayan because he knew at the onset that he is innocent of graft regarding the water supply deal between Rio Verde Water Consortium, Inc. (RVWCI) and the CDOCWD.

“Yes, I was told by the governor. If you remember last year, alam naman namin na walang katuturan ‘yong kaso, we just let it go on the merit. I guess, the governor was vindicated. Wala talagang saysay ‘yong kaso na ‘yan. Whoever did it, regardless of Michelle Fox, it was a desperate move,” Matta said.

Fox, a businesswoman who owns Foxy’s Beach Resort in San Vicente, filed the graft case against Jamora, Gaspar, and Javarez in December 2016 in the Office of the Ombudsman, claiming the water supply contract between RVWCSI and CDOCWD was questionable according to findings of the Commission on Audit (COA).

Matta said Fox filed the complaint because she was vexed when the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), the local Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the municipal government of San Vicente clamped down on her business for various violations.

“Galit ‘yan kasi PCSD, DENR, at saka ‘yong municipality of San Vicente is clamping down on resorts na may environmental violation. ‘Yong sa kanya nasa no build zone, wala pa siyang permit for building construction, wala siyang fencing permit, at wala pa siyang mayor’s permit. Parang ano ito, eh, local business person who thinks she’s above the law,” he said.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.