Sandigan affirms ex-Lanao Norte town mayor’s conviction

Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - June 19, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has upheld the conviction of former mayor Norlaine Limbona of Pantar, Lanao del Norte in connection with the illegal grant of cash advances to a municipal employee in 2008 amounting to P11.8 million.

The anti-graft court’s third division said Limbona and former municipal accountant Paganaibae Macaumbos failed to raise “new and substantial” arguments in their joint motion for reconsideration.

In a decision promulgated on March 12, the court found Limbona and Macaumbos guilty of graft and 20 counts each of violation of Presidential Decree 1445 or the Government Auditing Code.

The third division had earlier sentenced Limbona and Macaumbos to up to 10 years in prison for graft and ordered their perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

The two were ordered to pay a fine of P1,000 for each count of violation of PD 1445.

The cases filed against acting municipal treasurer Orac Racmat were archived as he remains at-large.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2017, the cases stemmed from the grant of cash advances to Racmat even though his prior cash advances had not been liquidated.

In its latest resolution, the court maintained that annual and special audit reports noted irregularities on the grant of cash advances to Racmat.

The court also cited the lack of supporting documents and legal purpose for the cash advances.

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