Ex-Benguet town mayor, treasurer get jail terms for issuing P5M check without papers
MANILA — A former mayor of Bakun town in Benguet and his municipal treasurer were sentenced to 10 to 18 years in prison by the Sandiganbayan, for issuing a P5 million check supposedly for medical supplies in 2002, without any supporting documents.
Besides the prison term, former Bakun, Benguet mayor Bartolome Sacla Sr. and municipal treasurer Manuel Bagayao were also perpetually disqualified from holding public office and ordered to each pay a P5-million fine.
In his defense, Sacla claimed that the check was issued as payment for medical supplies but he could not produce adequate proof these were actually delivered.
In its decision, the anti-graft court stated that “at the time of the issuance of the check, two prevalent factors made the transaction highly irregular: one, the check was issued without any supporting documents such as the disbursement voucher; and the other, no Accountant’s Advice was issued, which was a COA (Commission on Audit) requirement.”
“Considering the number of years and experience devoted by accused Sacla to public service from the time he served as the barangay captain to the time he was elected as councilor, until he became the mayor, he would have been more than aware of the fiscal requirements in the release of public funds,” the decision added.
Malversation of public funds is committed by misappropriating public funds or property; by consenting or through abandonment or negligence, by permitting any other person to take such public funds. SFM
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