TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Suspended Vice Mayor Bernard Glen M. Dao-as reportedly posted bail for his temporary liberty after he was formally charged by the city prosecutor’s office before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) for violation of Section 11 in relation to Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) 8435 or the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act.
In 2019, Vice mayor Dao-as also posted bail amounting to P18,000 for a case related to the alleged use of falsified documents under Criminal Case No. 5362.
The embattled vice mayor paid the fixed bail of P36,000 with the local court to guarantee his temporary liberty while the case is being heard on the merits.
Earlier, City Prosecutor Ranier D. Sarol filed an information against the suspended city official for violation of Section 11 in relation to Section 4 of RA 8435 after he allegedly illegally converted an agricultural land owned by a private individual for commercial use, among other purposes.
Section 11 of the aforesaid law provides that “Any person or juridical entity who knowingly or deliberately causes any irrigated agricultural lands 7 hectares or larger, whether contiguous or not, within the protected areas for agricultural development, as specified under Section 6 in relation to Section 9 of this Act, to lie idle and unproductive for a period exceeding 1 year, unless due to force majeure, shall by subject to an idle land tax of P3,000 per hectare per year. In addition, the violator shall be required to put back such lands to productive agricultural use. Should the continued agricultural inactivity, unless due to force majeure, exceed a period of 2 years, the land shall be subject to escheat proceedings.”
Further, the law states that “Any person found guilty of premature or illegal conversion shall be penalized with imprisonment of 2 to 6 years, or a fine equivalent to 100 percent of the government’s investment cost, or both, at the discretion of the court, and an accessory penalty of forfeiture of the land and any improvement thereon.”
In addition, the DAR may impose the following penalties, after determining, in an administrative proceeding, that violation of this law has been committed: Cancellation or withdrawal of the authorization for land use conversion; and Blacklisting, or automatic disapproval of pending and subsequent conversion applications that they may file with the DAR.
Based on the resolution and certification of the investigating prosecutor, together with the affidavit of the private complainant and his witnesses, the court found prima facie evidence on the offense charged and the accused is probably guilty thereof.
In an order, Judge Richardson G. Agbisit stated that there being reasonable ground to hold the accused suspended city official for trial and in order not to frustrate the ends of justice, a warrant of arrest was issued for his apprehension and that the recommended bail bond of P36,000 is fixed for his temporary liberty when posted during the pendency of the said case.
In February 2021, the office of the Ombudsman found Vice mayor Dao-as guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service in relation to the earlier case filed against him before the local court and was ordered suspended for a period of one year.