High court claps Samar ex-gov and warden to jail for playing ‘jailers’
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Sandiganbayan on Wednesday, finding former Eastern Samar Governor Ruperto Ambil Jr and Provincial Jail Warden Alexandrino Apelado guilty of unlawfully transferring a prisoner from the provincial jail to the governor’s residence.
In a decision by Associate Justice Martin S. Villarama Jr., the high court’s first division affirmed a penalty of up to 12 years and four months imprisonment against Ambil and Apelado, after they were found guilty of violating Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft Law.
The two were convicted after they conspired to transfer former Mayor Francisco Adalim of Taft, Easter Samar, a detainee charged with murder, to the governor’s house using a court order.
Echoing the words of the Sandiganbayan, the high court said both Ambil and Apelado displayed “manifest partiality and bad faith when they transferred Adalim without authority.
“The power to order the release or transfer of a detainee is vested in the court, not in the provincial government, much less the governor,” the high court said.
While Ambil is a jail keeper, the high court said his duty is confined to the administration of the jail, and feeding and clothing prisoners.
The high court also said Ambil’s defiance to the order of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the immediate delivery of Adalim to the provincial jail showed Ambil’s “unmistakable bias.”
The high court added that the two also provided special privileges to Adalim, not as a former mayor but as an accused for murder.
The two transferred Adalim, noting that there were threats to the life of the former mayor since the former mayor’s sister, a District Public Attorney, had sent numerous prisoners to the same jail.
But the high court said the two failed to establish the existence of the so-called threat to the former mayor’s safety by his continued detention at the provincial jail.
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