Ex-Davao del Sur mayor gets 2 years
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - December 15, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A former municipal mayor in Davao del Sur was sentenced to two years in prison for discharging his duties while detained for a murder case.

In a 30-page decision promulgated on Nov. 15, the Sandiganbayan found former Matanao mayor Vicente Fenandez guilty of usurpation of official functions as provided under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code.

The anti-graft court said Fernandez issued memoranda, appropriation ordinances, business permits and appointment papers as well as signed checks and disbursement vouchers while he was in jail for the murder of journalist Nestor Bedolido in 2010.

The Office of the Ombudsman, which filed the case in November 2016, said Fernandez usurped the authority and official functions of vice mayor Elmer Javelona, who was the acting mayor.

The Sandiganbayan said Fernandez ignored the letters sent by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, informing him of his legal incapacity to discharge the functions of a mayor.

The anti-graft court cited documents and appointment papers that Fernandez signed in January 2015.

“These pieces of evidence were unrebutted by the accused and strengthened the case of the prosecution,” the court said.

It dismissed Fernandez’ argument that he was not legally nor physically incapacitated to discharge the functions of a mayor as he was not yet convicted of murder.

The Sandiganbayan cited a Supreme Court ruling, which declared that all prisoners – whether under preventive detention or serving final sentence – could not practice their profession, engage in any business or occupation or hold office while in detention.

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