The Sandiganbayan convicted the mayor and four other officials of Lingig in Surigao del Sur of graft, falsification and malversation over allegedly anomalous disbursements of the honoraria of job order (JO) employees in the 2000s.
In a decision promulgated by the Third Division recently, the antigraft court sentenced Lingig Mayor Roberto M. Luna Jr. to a prison term of six months and one day to six years for falsification, six to eight years in prison for graft and six to 10 years for malversation.
Besides the prison term, Luna was also perpetually disqualified from holding public office and ordered to pay a P1,610,800 fine for his malversation charge and P5,000 for his falsification charge.
Also found guilty of graft in the same case were Executive Assistant IV Jethro Lindo, Municipal Accountant Venus Carlos, Municipal Treasurer Ebrencio Indoyon Jr., and Cash Clerk I Nilda Ferrando. For malversation, Luna is convicted alongside Lindo and Carlos. Only the mayor and Lindo are found guilty of falsification.
They can appeal the ruling.
The case arose from the disbursements of P1,610,800 worth of public funds and using it as payment of the honoraria and per diems of at least 101 job order workers from January to April 2004, without any appropriation ordinance or law authorizing the release of the funds.
According to the prosecution, the check supposedly covering the amount of the cash advance was released on April 12, 2004, or two days ahead of the approval of the cash advance. At the same time, the Job Order Contracts were likewise not submitted to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for mandatory review.
The decision noted that there were no job order workers actually hired to perform work for the municipality and the Ombudsman prosecutors were able to present the time book and payrolls which contained several false statements.
“It appear that job order workers were hired and rendered services, when such were not the truth,” the court said in the decision penned by Associate Justice Sarah Jane Fernandez
It also said the fact that the town coffers paid for their services even though there was no proof of work accomplished proves evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence on the part of Luna and his co-accused. By CLC