Sandiganbayan (File photo)

MANILA – The Sandiganbayan anti-graft court has found a former Pampanga mayor liable for the delay in the construction of the town slaughterhouse that started during his term and was sentenced up to eight years in prison.

A 34-page decision dated June 8 said former Guagua mayor Ricardo Rivera is guilty of violating Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The PHP28.5-million project started on April 21, 2009 was supposed to be completed within 240 days.

In 2013 when the project remained unfinished, a complaint was filed by a losing candidate, citing a 2011 Commission on Audit report that said the municipality lost PHP801,901 annually in amortization due to the project’s non-operational status.

Rivera claimed that road closures due to repairs, excavation, dredging of rivers, and inclement weather were responsible for the delay.

The project eventually went into full operation in August 2019, or 10 years after the start of construction.

The court found Rivera liable for “failing to take appropriate action to ensure the completion of the construction” and “to institute proper legal action “against the contractor, NC’s General Contractor, through termination of contract or enforcing payment of liquidated damages for failure to complete and deliver the project on time. (PNA)