Ex-Cebu town treasurer convicted over late mayor’s cash advances

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A former municipal treasurer of Ronda, Cebu may spend up to 20 years in prison in connection with the unliquidated cash advances of the late mayor Esteban Sia in 2009 amounting to P2.063 million.

In a 124-page decision promulgated on Tuesday, the Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division found Esperato del Socorro guilty of of graft and malversation of public funds.

He was sentenced to six to 10 years in prison for each offense, with the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office and forfeiture of retirement and gratuity benefits.

Del Socorro was ordered to pay a fine of P2.063 million, equivalent to the amount of public funds found to have been malversed.

He was also ordered to pay P2.063 million in civil liability to the Bureau of the Treasury, with an interest rate of six percent per annum reckoned from the finality of the decision until the amount is fully paid.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2016, the cases stemmed from Sia’s receipt of cash advances allegedly in conspiracy with Del Socorro and former municipal accountant Genera Kasayan.

The ombudsman said Sia failed to liquidate the cash advances “without justifiable cause and despite repeated demands.”

The court dismissed the cases against Sia following his death on July 17, 2020.

The charges filed against Kasayan were dropped after the ombudsman decided to use her as a state witness.

”The death of Sia did not sever the collusive link among the co-principals,” the court ruling read.

“That Del Socorro did not benefit from the cash advances used by Sia or that he merely acted upon the orders of Sia, will not absolve him of liability,” it added.


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