Espino plunder case based on fiction, say

GOVERNOR’S DEFENSE READY

LINGAYEN–“What was filed against the governor is pure harassment done by a fiction writer.”

This was the declaration of Atty. Abraham Espejo, lead counsel of Gov. Amado Espino Jr., who is facing a plunder case before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly receiving payola from the operations of the illegal numbers game jueteng.

Espejo said he and his team of lawyers are ready to go to trial.

“The defense panel is ready should the proceedings in the Ombudsman recommend for a full trial on the allegations of plunder,” he said.

In a media interview at the Capitol Resort here last week, Espejo said the governor’s defense panel will use the same statements made by the complainant, himself during a Senate investigation over jueteng operations in the province some two years ago.

The complainant who filed the case against the governor is Bugallon Mayor Rodrigo Orduña, a former ally of Espino.

The Senate then cleared the governor based on Orduña’s statements.

“We see no strong case against the governor… It’s pure harassment based on fabricated evidence,” said Espejo, dean of the College of Law of New Era University who has previously represented other prominent personalities such as former President Joseph Estrada.

Espejo reiterated Espino’s earlier claim that the charges are politically motivated saying it is “part of a demolition job against the governor waged by his political foes so they could catch up from trailing miserably in the surveys.”

At the same time, Espejo stressed that despite the controversy the governor remains supportive of the administration of President Benigno Aquino III and that he continues to manage the province’s affairs.

Meanwhile, Sec. Mar Roxas of the Department of Interior and Local Government, will reportedly submit his recommendation to President Aquino this month whether or not Espino will be suspended pending the completion of the investigation of his office and that of the Ombudsman.  (with report from PIO)

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