Ex-university executive gets 6 yrs for fund misuse

Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - November 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A former official of the Sultan Kudarat State University may spend up to six years in prison for misuse of funds intended for a training program.

Rex Dapitan, former vice president for finance, administration and resource generation of the university, was found guilty of malversation of public funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, the Sandiganbayan’s Seventh Division said in a 48-page decision promulgated on Oct. 1.

Dapitan was also perpetually disqualified from holding public office and ordered to pay a fine of P50,625, which is equivalent to the amount of public funds that he malversed.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed the case in 2015, saying Dapitan received a cash advance of P70,000 supposedly to cover transportation expenses for a training and educational tour program for faculty members at the Surigao del Sur State University from Oct. 27 to 29.

Graft probers said Dapitan and other faculty members instead attended the wedding of their co-employee in Carrascal, Surigao del Sur on Oct. 28.

“Arranging the schedule of the Lakbay Aral to coincide with the wedding, where all the participants were also the invited guests, clearly indicates that the educational tour was conducted to ensure that they could attend the private occasion using public funds,” the court ruling read.

“This is the fraudulent intent that motivated the accused when he requested the cash advance. Malversation was committed at this point,” it said.

When the scheduled tour on Oct. 29 did not push through due to bad weather, Dapitan returned only P19,375.

While he returned the remaining P50,625, the court said it could not exonerate him from the crime.

Dapitan admitted during the trial that the cash advance was spent for the food, hotel accommodation and cell phone load of the participants “contrary to the provision of the training design.”

“It is basic that public funds may be used only for a public purpose,” the court said.

SULTAN KUDARAT
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