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‘Euro general’ fined P200,000 for using intel fund for trip  

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
âEuro generalâ fined P200,000 for using intel fund for trip   
In a 15-page decision promulgated yesterday, the anti-graft court’s Fourth Division found Dela Paz guilty of violating Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Circular No. 507 in relation to Section 36 of Republic Act 7653 or the New Central Bank Act.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Found guilty of carrying an excessive amount of undeclared foreign currency during the trip of top police officials to Russia in 2008, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief comptroller Eliseo dela Paz is being fined P200,000 by the Sandiganbayan.

In a 15-page decision promulgated yesterday, the anti-graft court’s Fourth Division found Dela Paz guilty of violating Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Circular No. 507 in relation to Section 36 of Republic Act 7653 or the New Central Bank Act.

He was levied a fine of P200,000 subject to other personal liability as may be imposed under Article 39 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) in case of insolvency or failure to pay the original fine.

The case stemmed from the apprehension of Dela Paz and his wife Maria Fe by authorities at the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow for carrying 105,000 euros (P6.9 million) in cash, way above the limit of $10,000 (about P500,000) that can be carried out of the country.

Dela Paz, then PNP director for comptrollership, supposedly brought the amount to finance not just his travel expenses but also that of eight other ranking police officers, dubbed as the “euro generals,” to attend the 77th International Police (Interpol) general assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia on Oct. 7-10, 2008.

BSP Circular No. 507 requires the declaration of the “source and purpose” of a cash exceeding the allowable limit of $10,000 being transported outside the country.

To ensure Dela Paz’s payment of the penalty, the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division ordered the withholding of the release of the cash bond he previously posted for his provisional liberty.

Meanwhile, the Fourth Division acquitted his wife Maria Fe, due to the prosecution’s “failure to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.”

The court ordered the lifting of the hold departure order it previously issued against her as well as the release of her cash bond.

The decision was penned by Fourth Division chairman Associate Justice Michael Frederick Musngi, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Lorifel Pahimna and Bayani Jacinto.

The apprehension of the Dela Paz couple led to the investigation of the alleged illegal disbursement of P10 million of the PNP’s confidential and intelligence fund for 2008 for that travel to Russia.

The Office of the Ombudsman, in 2014, filed six counts of violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and three counts of illegal use of public funds (technical malversation) under Article 220 of the RPC.

Accused with Dela Paz were former PNP officials Emmanuel Carta, then deputy chief for operations; Ismael Rafanan, then chief of the directorial staff; Romeo Ricardo, then director for plans; German Doria, then director for human resources and doctrine development; Orlando Pestaño then director for finance service; Samuel Rodriguez, then special disbursing officer of the finance service; Tomas Rentoy III, then director of the budget division of the PNP directorate for comptrollership and Jaime Caringal, then Region 9 police director.

The cases, however, were dismissed by the Sandiganbayan in 2019 due to insufficiency of evidence.

ELISEO DELA PAZ

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