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SC acquits Laguna mayor of malversation

Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - January 21, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has acquitted a mayor of Laguna, who was found guilty by the Sandiganbayan of malversation of public funds.

The Sandiganbayan sentenced Sta. Cruz Mayor Domingo Panganiban to 10 to 18 years in prison in a decision issued in November 2013, which said he had unliquidated cash advance amounting to P256,000.

Panganiban had a total cash advance of P500,000 for his travel to Australia. When the travel did not push through, he had an arrangement with the town accountant to liquidate the cash advance through salary deduction. 

In its ruling on Dec. 9, which was released yesterday, the First Division of the high tribunal said withholding the salaries of government employees to liquidate cash advances is allowed under the rules of the Commission on Audit (COA). 

A COA official who testified during the hearing at the SC no case has been filed against any official liquidating cash advances through salary deduction.

The decision was penned by Associate Justice Jose Portugal Perez.

 Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Lucas Bersamin and Estrella Perlas-Bernabe concurred with the ruling.

ADVANCE ASSOCIATE JUSTICE JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ CASH CHIEF JUSTICE MARIA LOURDES SERENO AND ASSOCIATE JUSTICES TERESITA LEONARDO-DE CASTRO CRUZ MAYOR DOMINGO PANGANIBAN FIRST DIVISION LUCAS BERSAMIN AND ESTRELLA PERLAS-BERNABE NBSP PANGANIBAN SANDIGANBAYAN SUPREME COURT
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