Sandiganbayan Clears Former Iloilo Mayor Mariano Malones, Lifts Travel Restrictions

Iloilo — The Sandiganbayan has lifted the travel ban and ordered the return of the bond for former Maasin mayor Mariano Malones following the dismissal of his graft charges by the Supreme Court due to undue delays. The charges were related to alleged irregularities in the procurement of a garbage compactor truck in 2001.

According to Philippines News Agency, the court acted after receiving the Supreme Court’s entry of judgment in April, which officially closed and terminated the case against Malones. The Commission on Audit had previously flagged the purchase of the PHP380,000 truck from Japanese firm RH International Co. Ltd., noting that documents had been falsified to suggest the truck was donated rather than purchased without public bidding.

The Supreme Court, in its decision dated July 20, 2022, cited the inordinate delay in the proceedings. The graft charges were initially brought forward by former local council member Winefredo Maternal on May 31, 2002, but the formal charges were not filed with the Sandiganbayan until 2014. Malones had been suspended for 90 days in 2016 in connection with the case.