UP at fault, says convicted ex-DFA exec
A former senior official at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), who was sentenced to prison by the Sandiganbayan for claiming she had graduated from the University of the Philippines (UP), has passed the blame for the false entry in her personal data sheet (PDS) to the school.
In a motion for reconsideration, former DFA Assistant Secretary Ma. Lourdes Ramiro-Lopez told the antigraft court’s Second Division that UP should be faulted for its failure to keep her scholastic records when she attended the state university in 1970.
Lopez, who had also served as consul general in Japan, asked the court to annul its June 3 decision sentencing her to up to eight years in prison for falsification of public documents.
In a petition filed by her lawyers, the ex-diplomat said that then UP president Emerlinda Roman had noted that Lopez only needed to secure a certification from the university registrar in 2010 showing that “UP cannot confirm her status because the records are still being reconstructed.”
“The accused should have been acquitted on reasonable doubt considering that even the [UP] president admitted that their records were in such disarray that they could not confirm the academic status of the accused,” Lopez said in her motion.
She said Roman’s admission “effectively confirmed the lack of factual basis for the prosecution’s assertion, and this honorable court’s confirmation, that the accused was not a graduate of UP.”
“UP’s records torpedoed this case from the onset,” Lopez argued. “The parade of records, documents and witnesses for the prosecution proved that the student records of [UP], at the time material in this case, are shockingly inaccurate, sloppily prepared and inextricably conflicting.”
In addition, Lopez said Ombudsman case investigator Gialynn Yebron had told the court that she (Lopez) was able to complete 86 of the 140 academic units required to finish the AB Broadcast Communication course at UP.
But Yebron, she said, did not include the academic units she took up at Miriam College, then known as Maryknoll College, as a “cross enrollee.”
Lopez added that even Dr. Lourdes Portus, the former college secretary at the UP College of Mass Communication, could not ascertain how many academic units she had actually taken up at the university.
“By 1970, even before the alleged execution of the [PDS] dated Nov. 1, 1971, and Nov. 30, 1971, 140 units had already been completed by the accused,” Lopez said.–Marlon Ramos
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