Benguet mayor gets 18 years for graft
THE SANDIGANBAYAN has sentenced a former town mayor of Benguet and his municipal treasurer to 10 to 18 years in prison for issuing a P5-million check 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 antigraft court cited two factors that made the transaction highly irregular: the check was issued without any supporting documents such as the disbursement voucher, and no accountant’s advice was issued, which is a requirement of the Commission on Audit.
“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 court said. DJ Yap
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