Spotlight: Bribery charges should result in strong justice

Mauro Flores, Spotlight Columnist

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The fact that two elected officials fell for temptation and took bribes is just wrong. Corrupt people should not take part in any city or county position let alone have a part in city or county matters.

I am glad that former Webb County Commissioner Jaime Canales and former member of Laredo City Council John “Johnny” Amaya pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy charges in federal court.

I can’t simply fathom how people could use their job for illegal activities.”

— Mauro Flores

Canales accepted things of value including checks disguised as campaign contributions, personal loans, use of a Padre Island condominium, and meals and entertainment. All together Canales received an estimated $15,000 from an unnamed co-conspirator, according to an indictment and news stories.

Amaya, who was also formerly Webb County’s water utilities director and formerly a member of the Laredo ISD school board, allegedly acted as the middleman between elected Canales and yet unnamed officials and the co-conspirator, a lead project manager from a civil engineering firm in McAllen, the indictment states.

I can’t simply fathom how people could use their job for illegal activities.

Although I’m not happy that both Canales and Amaya are out on bond now, hopefully in February when their sentence hearings are set they will be sentenced to serve time for their crimes.

Canales resigned from United ISD, where he worked as student relations coordinator in the Department of Student Relations/ Discipline Management.

Canales violated the trust voters gave him when he was elected. I hope this revelation serves a reminder to members of the public to elect someone with higher values, who actually want to make changes in Laredo and don’t use their positions for illegal purposes.

It’s time to end the corruption that lurks in our city and county. Now more than ever is time for our community to come together in unity, to hold corrupt officials accountable for their actions.