^

Nation

Sandigan affirms Cebu mayor’s prison term for P17,512 graft

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
Sandigan affirms Cebu  mayorâs prison term  for P17,512 graft
The anti-graft court’s fourth division said Bacaltos “failed to raise any meritorious argument” in his motion to reverse its May 17 decision that sentenced him to up to eight years in prison for violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
File

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has upheld the conviction of Mayor Lionel Bacaltos of Sibonga, Cebu for receiving an honorarium amounting to P17,512.50 from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

The anti-graft court’s fourth division said Bacaltos “failed to raise any meritorious argument” in his motion to reverse its May 17 decision that sentenced him to up to eight years in prison for violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Bacaltos was also ordered to pay a fine equivalent to the honorarium and perperpetually disqualified from holding public office.

“Evidence sufficiently proves with moral certainty that accused acted with manifest partiality and evident bad faith. He cannot feign ignorance of the guidelines issued by PhilHealth, which were made known to him,” the court said in a ruling released yesterday.

The Office of the Ombudsman said Bacaltos received the honorarium in February 2015 even though it was exclusive to personnel of the municipal health office.

The court gave no weight to Bacaltos’ claim that the prosecution failed to establish that he acted in bad faith or had criminal intent. Bacaltos said he returned the money upon learning that he was not entitled to it.

“Restitution does not extinguish criminal liability, but in fact tightens finding of guilt,” the Sandiganbayan said, citing a Supreme Court ruling.

The court also denied Bacaltos’ motion to dismiss the case on the ground of its supposed lack of jurisdiction to handle a case involving less than P1 million in public funds.

The fourth division said the law strengthening the function and organization of the Sandiganbayan, which relegates cases involving public funds of P1 million and less to regional trial courts, took effect only in April 2015 and does not apply to the case filed against Bacaltos.

LIONEL BACALTOS PHILIPPINE HEALTH INSURANCE CORP.
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with