Former Quezon town mayor guilty of graftBy Cynthia D. Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Sandiganbayan on Wednesday convicted former Unisan, Quezon Mayor Cesar Alpay of graft in connection with the diversion of the P1-million social fund under the “Isang Bayan, Isang Produkto, Isang Milyon Program” of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from its intended use as cash loans to farmers on his last day in office in 2004.
In a 75-page decision, the antigraft court’s Fourth Division sentenced Alpay to a six- to 10-year jail term for releasing the money as a cash grant rather than as a loan intended “for micro and medium scale enterprises or for farmers.”
It said that Alpay approved the release of P877,310 from the P1 million social fund, P459,110 of which was used to purchase a hand tractor and another P418,200 to buy an engine for a motorized banca.
The court ruled that after a thorough evaluation of the evidence, it was morally convinced that the accused was “motivated by a dishonest purpose or ill-will partaking of fraud or some ulterior purpose.”
The verdict was penned by Fourth Division chair Associate Justice Gregory Ong, with Associate Justices Jose Hernandez and Ma. Cristina Cornejo concurring.
The court said the fund release effectively removed the condition of repayment as required under the loan program.
The ruling said the acts transpired on June 30, 2003, “the very last day of the term of office of accused Mayor Alpay who was obviously aware that another duly-elected mayor will be taking over the helm of his office on the day following …”
“This highlights the state of mind of the accused that is constitutive of malice or fraud,” it added.
Alpay served as mayor of Unisan from 2001 to 2004. He was succeeded by Nonato E. Puache who was mayor from 2004 to 2007. Alpay got reelected in 2007 before being replaced again by incumbent mayor Puache in 2010.
He was indicted two years ago for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.