Ex-PNB exec gets 105 years for check fraud
MANILA, Philippines—The Sandiganbayan First Division convicted a former ranking official of the Philippine National Bank and sentenced him to suffer of up to 105 years in prison due to his involvement in check fraud involving millions of pesos in 1995.
In a 71-page decision released to the public Wednesday, the anti-graft court, through Associate Justice Rafael Lagos found Herman Limbo, former PNB’s Assistant Department Manager, Cagayan de Oro City Branch guilty of 15 counts of violating Section 3 of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and sentenced him to an indeterminate penalty of six years and one month as minimum to 7 years as maximum.
The anti-graft court also perpetually disqualified him from holding any public office.
At the same time, Limbo is also ordered to pay the government P35-million with interest until fully paid as civil liability.
The decision is concurred in by Associate Justices Efren dela Cruz and Rodolfo Ponferrada.
Aside from Limbo, the court also convicted Cecilia Li and Rebuan Saripada guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violating the anti-graft law. They were also sentenced to suffer 6 years and one month to 7 years imprisonment for conspiring with Limbo. Saripada has been found guilty in five cases.
In its ruling, the court said that “the court has no recourse but to take into the account the admissions and/ or stipulations made by [Limbo], Saripada and Li and the concerned bank tellers, that all the checks (except for DBP Check No. 1834400 in Criminal Case No. 25403) they were involved in, were all approved by Limbo for encashment.”
“In his testimony and in his memorandum, accused Limbo did not deny that he wrote the word “encashment” on these checks and signed the same,” the ruling stated.
The court, therefore, stated that “on the basis of the testimonies of the bank tellers and Saripada, together with the admission of Li that these checks were approved for encashment by Limbo and the deposit slips indicating “cash” as the form of deposit, can only conclude that Limbo did in fact authorize the encashment of the out-of-town checks, even before they were cleared.”
The Sandiganbayan further held that “Limbo’s contention that he placed the words “encashment” on these checks just to enable PNB CDO to collect bank commission is pure hogwash.”
The case stemmed after 16 cases have been filed against Limbo for authorizing the encashment of 49 out-of-town checks in many occasions, prior to clearing in violation of the PNB and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas regulations.
Limbo, together with PNB Assistant Vice-President Erlinda Archinas who is still at large allegedly gave unwarranted benefits to Li, Saripada and two others “through evident bad faith and manifest partiality.”
The uncleared checks later bounced and were returned either for having no sufficient funding, payment being stopped or the drawer’s account being closed.
On the other hand, the court said that the culpability of those who remain at-large namely accused Archinas, Ma. Theresa Rubic, Castan Panduma, Monena Arcaya, Alexander Vistan, Steve Factura, Rosita Mangana, Rosita Mejia and Jesus Louis and Trinidad Lee,” shall be determined once they are brought into this court’s jurisdiction.
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