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Ex-Camarines Norte mayor cleared of graft over power deal

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Former Mercedes, Camarines Norte mayor Pepito Pajarillo Lo has been cleared by the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division of graft over the alleged anomalous deal with a power company to use the Colasi Falls for the production of hydroelectric power.

The case stemmed from the 2009 deal with the with the Colasi Mini-Hydro Electric Power Corporation.

The Office of the Ombudsman which filed the case alleged the deal did not undergo the required public bidding.

However, the anit-graft court agreed the corporation was the only logical choice since it has a water permit which allows it to utilize the water at the Coalsi Falls area.

“Verily, this right bestowed upon the said corporation is admitted and was actually recognized by the prosecution in the joint stipulations, whereby the parties agreed that the water permit of Colasi Power Corporation not only covers the utilization but also includes the exploration, development, conservation and protection of the water resources along the Colasi Falls Area,” the court ruled.

With the dismissal, the court ordered the lifting of the hold departure order (HDO) against Lo and his co-accused as well as the release of their respective bonds.