Ex-NLRC exec gets 11 years for taking ‘goodwill money’
The Sandiganbayan has convicted former National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) Commissioner Angelo Ang Palaña for soliciting a P100,000 loan from a lawyer in exchange for decisions in favor of the latter’s client.
The court’s Fifth Division found Palaña guilty of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Section 7(d) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
In a decision dated Nov. 15, the court sentenced Palaña to imprisonment of a minimum of nine years and one month to a maximum of 11 years and one month, and perpetually barred him from public office.
It also ordered him to pay labor lawyer Rebene Carrera the P100,000 loan he received on Dec. 21, 2011, and had yet to pay back.
According to Carrera’s testimony, Palaña insinuated that the loan would be considered “goodwill money” for the favorable resolution of his client’s cases.
The court noted that this allegation was “corroborated” by the fact that several labor cases were decided in favor of the lawyer’s clients.
It did not give credence to the testimony given by retired Commissioner Nieves de Castro, who said she was the one who deposited the P100,000 in Palaña’s account.
While De Castro did not present proof, the court pointed out that Carrera had the original copy of the deposit slip which he could not have obtained if he did not make the transaction.
It said the deposit slip indicated Palaña’s bank account number—a piece of personal information which could only be “given by the owner.”
Whether the amount was an unpaid loan or “goodwill money,” the court said, Palaña was proven to have caused undue injury to Carrera.
“It is evident that the accused capitalized on his position as the Commissioner of the NLRC to commit the crime charged,” according to the decision penned by Associate Justice Maria Theresa V. Mendoza-Arcega.
Associate Justices Rafael R. Lagos and Maryann E. Corpus-Mañalac concurred.
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