August 30, 2022 @ 3:07 PM 1 month ago

FINALLY, fair justice is served for Quezon City Treasurer Ed Villanueva who’s left behind defending himself for years over a 2011 auction of a three-hectare lot inside the already foreclosed Manila Seedling Bank property that he did all based on government records.

He said the high court’s Second Division has ruled that the foreclosed Manila Seedling property was not tax-exempt and that its auction was valid.

As a result, it reversed and set aside the decision and resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated November 2019 and February 2020 that found him guilty and sentenced him to six to 10 years aside from permanent disqualification to hold office for violating the anti-graft law.

The anti-graft court had ruled that Villanueva unlawfully auctioned off a portion of the property without a notice of assessment, ordering his dismissal from government service and forfeiture of his benefits.

But the high tribunal found that there’s no bad faith that may be attributed to a City Treasurer who merely performed his duty to collect real property taxes while relying on official records of the localgovernment

“If indeed there was no notice of assessment, why is it that the (chief of the) assessor’s office was not included in the complaint and why is it that there was a dismissal of complaint against the other 11 respondents?” he said.

But even before the high court’s ruling, the current city treasurer said he already won the administrative case before the Court of Appeals that directed the city government to pay him back some P4-million in back wages.

Because of the appellate court’s ruling, Villanueva said he was hired anew as the City Treasurer in 2019.

The visibly-triumphant Villanueva expressed gratitude to his friends and relatives who believed in him all the way.

“Thank you Lord for hearing our prayers and thanks too Mayor Joy Belmonte and (former) House Speaker (Feliciano) ‘Sonny’ Belmonte for trusting me by letting me to be part of your administration.”