The Sandiganbayan condemned former Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), Camilo L. Sabio, for failing to be accountable as a responsible officer and was ordered to pay the government 350,000 pesos in liability civil.
Sabio was also ordered to pay a fine of 1,000 pesos for violating article 218 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
Article 218 is violated by any public official “whether in the service or separated from it by resignation or for any other cause, who is bound by law or regulation to render an account…and who abstains from doing so. to do for a period of two months after these accounts have had to be rendered”. be rendered…” A violation is punishable by a term of misdemeanor imprisonment (six months and a day to six years) in its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 pesos to 6,000 pesos or both.
Sabio received two checks in the amount of 350,000 pesos in 2009 as cash advances for field operating expenses related to his official duties as chairman of PCGG.
Under Circular No. 97-002 of the Commission on Audit (COA), Sabio was required to liquidate the cash advances within two months. Unfortunately, Sabio did not do so within the prescribed time.
During the trial, Sabio did not deny receiving the cash advances. In fact, Sabio said these were used for litigation and related expenses. However, he said the funds are private in nature and therefore do not require liquidation.
In sentencing Sabio, the Sandiganbayan said its argument was “untenable” because the funds were classified as field operating expenses.
“The defendant is therefore bound to account for the advances of funds he has received, or to return the parts thereof which have not been used for the purposes stated in the request,” said the anti-criminal court. corruption.
The ruling was written by the court’s second division chairman, Oscar C. Herrera Jr., with the concurrence of associate justices Michael Frederick L. Musngi and Arthur O. Malabaguio.
This was not Sabio’s first conviction before the Sandiganbayan. In 2020, the court found him guilty of trying to influence his Court of Appeal (CA) brother to rule in favor of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). He was sentenced to a prison term of six to ten years’ imprisonment with a life ban from holding public office.
In 2017, Sabio was found guilty in a PCGG vehicle abnormal rental case from 2007 to 2009. He was sentenced to 12 to 20 years in prison with a life ban from holding public office.
It is not immediately clear whether these two previous convictions have been appealed by Sabio to the Supreme Court.
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