Daet ex-mayor convicted of malversation, graft charge

Former Daet, Camarines Norte Mayor Tito Sarion

MANILA 10/12/17 (Bicol Standard) -- Former Daet, Camarines Norte Mayor Tito Sarion was convicted by the Third Division of the Sandiganbayan for Malversation of Public Funds and violation the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

In a 50-page decision promulgated on September 29, 2017, the Sandiganbayan found Sarion "guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 and is sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of Six years and One month, as minimum to Eight (8) years, as maximum, and suffer the penalty of perpetual special disqualification from holding public office.

He was also found "guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Malversation of Public Funds or Property under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, and is accordingly sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of prision correcional, as minimum, to six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum; pay a fine in the amount of one million pesos (P1,000,000.00); and suffer the penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office."

Sarion shall imdemnify the Municipality of Daet the amount of One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) as actual damages, plus interest at the rate of 6% per annum to be reckoned from the date of finality of the Decision until its full satisfaction.

This is in relation to his approval of the disbursement and disbursement voucher in the amount of P1,000,000.00 in favor of Markbilt Construction as partial payment for contract price escalation despite the absence of (a) Certificate of Availability of Funds; (b) the Government Procurement Policy Board's approval; (c) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)'s determination as to the propriety of the price escalation.

"Markbilt is not entitled to payment for contract price escalation, in view of the absence of a GPBB approval of the payment and the absence of a NEDA determination of extraordinary circumstances to justify contract price escalation," the Sandiganbayan said.

"Proof of any of the three modes (manifest partiality, evident bad faith, and gross inexcusable negligence") is sufficient to sustain a conviction," it added.

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