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Ex-Caloocan mayor Echiverri refuses to enter plea in graft case

Former Caloocan City Mayor Enrico Echiverri refused to enter a plea on Thursday in his graft cases before the Sandiganbayan over the alleged unlawful construction of a barangay hall and drainage improvement projects between 2011 to 2013.

Echiverri made no plea on two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in his arraignment before the anti-graft court's Sixth Division.

The court entered a not guilty plea for him. 

Based on the information of the case, Echiverri acted with "manifest partiality, evident bad faith and/or gross inexcusable negligence" when he gave unwarranted benefits to Caana Construction Corporation from May to October 2011 for the construction of Barangay 154's barangay hall worth almost P2 million.

The Office of the Ombudsman also accused Echiverri of committing the same offense when he awarded a P4.9-million project in favor P. B. Grey Construction for the upgrading and improvement drainage along Antipolo Street in Barangay 30 sometime between November 2012 to March 2013.

The Ombudsman said the former Caloocan mayor awarded both projects to the contractors without the prior authorization of the Caloocan City council.

On September 11, the Ombudsman filed the ninth graft case of Echiverri over the alleged anomalous road improvement in Barangay 155, Bagong Barrio in 2012.

The Ombudsman then slapped another 19 counts of graft against Echiverri on September 22 involving various drainage and street repair projects, installation of lighting systems, and construction of a multipurpose hall, all of which failed to secure the city council's approval. — Joseph Tristan Roxas/RSJ, GMA News