Ex-lawmaker Villarosa arrested for graft
FORMER Mindoro Occidental Rep. Jose Villarosa, who was acquitted in the celebrated Quintos double murder case, has been arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation for multiple counts of graft and technical malversation.
NBI agents brought Villarosa before the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division on Thursday, a day after they arrested him inside a seaport terminal in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.
The court, which issued a warrant for his arrest in November last year, promptly ordered the release of the former congressman after he posted a bail of P432,000.
In March 2008, the Court of Appeals reversed the ruling of a Quezon City Regional Trial Court, which sentenced Villarosa in February 2006 to life imprisonment for the 1997 murders of brothers Paul and Michael Quintos.
The victims, who were gunned down in Mamburao town, were the sons of former Rep. Ricardo Quintos, Villarosa’s political rival in the province.
Villarosa was indicted for 12 counts of violation of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, when he approved the purchase of Christmas lights, service vehicles, meals for barangay officials and other items using the P2.8 million in shares of San Jose, Mindoro Occidental, from the tobacco excise tax in November 2010.
He was then the mayor of San Jose town while his wife, former Mindoro Occidental Rep. Amelita Villarosa, was the representative of the province’s lone congressional district.
Charged along with Villarosa were then municipal accountant Pablo Alvaro and municipal treasurer Carlito Cajayon, who are still at-large.
Besides graft, the three were also indicted for 12 counts of technical malversation as defined under Article 220 of the Marcos-era edict Revised Penal Code.
In recommending the filing of criminal charges against Villarosa and the others, the Office of the Ombudsman said the three “repeatedly and knowingly misapplied the tobacco fund” when they used the money for purposes other than those allowed under the law.
The Ombudsman said the proceeds from the tobacco excise tax may only be “used solely for cooperative, livelihood and/or agro-industrial projects.”
“No genius is required to discern the disparity between the legislature’s declared policy and the respondents’ actual expenditures,” the antigraft body said in its March 23, 2015, resolution.
“Their acts in defiance of basic duties enjoined by law… reveal a community of criminal design indicative of conspiracy,” it said.
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