Local tourism chief gets 2 years for soliciting money
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The chief of the Puerto Princesa City tourism office has been sentenced to two years in prison for soliciting money from private groups and individuals in 2014.

In a decision promulgated on Nov. 20, the Sandiganbayan found Aileen Cynthia Amurao and her assistant Michael Angelo Aquino Jr. guilty of violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Aside from imprisonment, the respondents were fined P5,000 each and disqualified from holding public office.

The anti-graft court cleared tourism operations officers Michie Meneses and Joyce Enriquez due to lack of evidence.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2017, the case stemmed from the solicitation letters that the accused sent to companies engaged in tourism activities, private entities and individuals.

The accused asked for sponsorship grants for the holding of a two-month festival dubbed Pangalipay sa Baybay, which the city tourism office organized.

The ombudsman said the event had fund allocations from the city government, but still the accused solicited to money from tourism stakeholders and private entities.

The ombudsman said the solicited amount did not undergo accounting or liquidation.

Witnesses from the city tourism office said a part of the solicited money went to Amurao’s personal bank accounts. 

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