Convicted Biliran mayor gets six more years in new graft verdict
MANILA — The Sandiganbayan has handed down a fresh six-year prison term to a former Biliran mayor and incumbent councilor who had already been convicted for graft four years ago.
This time, the court’s Third Division convicted former Caibiran mayor Melchor Maderazo for receiving P305,481.06 in back salaries and allowances for the period of September 2002 to September 2003, when he was under suspension.
In a 33-page decision dated June 29, Maderazo was sentenced to imprisonment of six to eight years for one count of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Municipal budget officer Dionisio Veruen Jr. and municipal accountant Orlando Salentes Jr. were likewise found guilty of the same offense for approving Maderazo’s request.
The three were likewise ordered to “jointly and severally indemnify” the amount to the municipal government, plus an interest of 6 percent per annum from the finality of the decision until its full payment. They were also perpetually disqualified from public office.
The court applied the principle of “no work, no pay” since Maderazo’s suspension for graft, grave misconduct and grave abuse of authority was never declared illegal.
“He is not entitled to back salaries for period of his suspension because he did not actually render services,” the decision read, adding that Maderazo’s move to request payment just the same was “done with evident bad faith.”
Accountant Salentes, meanwhile, was faulted for certifying the completeness of the supporting documents attached to the disbursement voucher. The court noted that none of the requirements under Section 220 of the Government Accounting and Auditing Manual Volume 1 was attached.
Likewise, the court found budget officer Veruen to have acted with evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence when he signed the allotment and obligation slip without making any objections.
Associate Justice Sarah Jane T. Fernandez penned the decision, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang and Bernelito R. Fernandez.
The anti-graft court in May 2013 earlier sentenced Maderazo to imprisonment of six to 10 years for graft over an anomalous negotiated contract for 400 tapping saddles worth P160,000 in January 1998. The tapping saddles, meant to be used for the municipal water system, were not actually delivered. The Supreme Court affirmed his conviction in July 2015.
The Sandiganbayan also convicted Maderazo for unjust vexation in September 2004 and ordered him to pay a P200 fine, a verdict affirmed by the Supreme Court in September 2006. The case arose from the forcible and violent ejection of a municipal market tenant whose stall was ordered padlocked in January 1997. SFM