CA finds Estrada prosecutor guilty of misconduct
MANILA, Philippines–He may not have had an “ill motive or a corrupt desire for personal gain,” but former special prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio was still guilty of misconduct for diverting a staff donation to another purpose, the Court of Appeals (CA) ruled in a nearly decade-old case.
In an eight-page amended decision, the appellate court’s Former Seventh Division overturned its own Oct. 8, 2012, ruling that had exonerated Villa-Ignacio from a 2010 Ombudsman ruling that had found him guilty of misconduct.
Villa-Ignacio, who successfully prosecuted the plunder case against former President Joseph Estrada, had contested the Ombudsman’s ruling on the estafa charges filed against him by Ombudsman Director Elvira Chua, blaming the complaint on internal politics aimed at ousting him from the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Here, although it may arguably be said that petitioner (Villa-Ignacio) did not have ill-motive or a corrupt desire for personal gain in appropriating the donations for a different purpose, his act of using the same without the consent of the donors constitutes simple misconduct,” said the court.
According to court records, Chua filed the charges with the Ombudsman’s Internal Affairs Board after Villa-Ignacio allegedly diverted her donation of P26,660 intended for the acquisition of water pumps for typhoon victims in 2004. Chua said Villa-Ignacio gave the money instead to Gawad Kalinga, a nonprofit community development organization.
“We are now convinced that respondent (Chua) made her donation for the purpose of purchasing water pumps to help typhoon victims, which amount was used for a different purpose, without her consent or awareness,” said the court in a ruling penned by Associate Justice Noel Tijam.
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