Sandigan orders ex-mayor jailed

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MANILA, Philippines—The Sandiganbayan on Thursday ordered the incarceration at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) of former Zamboanga del Norte congressman Crescente Llorente Jr. who has eluded arrest for the past eight years after his conviction for graft in 2004.

However, Llorente was allowed to remain in hospital under the custody of the Quezon City Police District in the order issued by Justice Francisco Villaruz, presiding justice of the 3rd Division.

Llorente is confined at the Philippine Heart Center after his doctors certified that he was suffering from hypertension and diabetes and therefore unfit to travel.

His lawyer had appealed to the court that his client be allowed to remain in hospital until he is well enough to be transferred to the NBP.

The court said it will ask the PHC to give the court regular updates on the physical condition of Llorente.

“Upon certification by his attending physicians that he is fit to travel he will be committed to (the NBP) to start serving his sentence,” Villaruz said in open court.

Llorente, 71, was convicted of graft in 2004 for ordering the illegal seizure of 930 wooden boxes from the store of the complainant, Godofredo Diamante.

The crime was committed in 1993 when Llorente was still municipal mayor of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte. The Supreme Court later affirmed the conviction.

Upon receiving the notice of entry of judgment in 2005, the antigraft court issued a subpoena for Llorente to appear before it for execution of judgment. He failed to show up, prompting the court to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Police arrested Llorente at his home in Sindangan recently and brought him to the Sandiganbayan.

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Tags: court , Crescente Llorente Jr. , Graft and Corruption , Sandiganbayan

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