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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Ex-PRC man gets 17 years for P17-m graft

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A former cashier of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) will have to spend the next 17 years of his in prison for failure to account for over P17 million of government money from 2002 to 2008.

The Sandiganbayan, in a 57-page decision, affirmed the ruling of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Tuguegarao City that found Ferdinan Llapitan guilty of malversation of public funds.

Llapitan appealed the RTC decision to the anti-graft court which affirmed the ruling.

However, instead of sending Llapitan to prison for life, the anti-graft court reduced his sentence to only 17 years.

The Sandigan also affirmed Llapitan’s lifetime disqualification from holding public office.

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The court likewise ordered Llapitan to return to the PRC Region 2 Office more than P17 million with legal interest of six percent a year from the finality of the judgment until full payment.

“Let the necessary Commitment Order be issued. The Division Clerk of Court is directed to make the necessary arrangements for the transfer of accused-appellant Llapitan to the New Bilibid Prison,” the Sandigan said.

The case stemmed from the appeal of Llapitan, arguing that the RTC gravely erred in not finding that there was no full description of how the P17 million shortage was calculated.

Llapitan further argued that the court gravely erred in not finding that the element of doubt was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The anti-graft court said the RTC’s findings and conclusions were based on evidence. It added Llapitan had admitted that he was the only cashier of PRC Region 2 from 1998 to February 2008, meaning that he was solely in charge of the custody and collection of fees.

“Hence, this court agrees with the RTC’s conclusion that the prosecution evidence established, at the very least, a prima facie case for malversation against accused-appellant Llapitan,” it said.

“Clearly, accused-appellant Llapitan’s failure to account for the missing or unremitted funds, and his failure to offer a justifiable explanation for such shortage, despite the demand made by COA, gives rise to a prima facie presumption that he appropriated the subject funds.”

However, the anti-graft court said the RTC erred in imposing a penalty of reclusion perpetua or lifetime imprisonment against Llapitan and in not imposing a fine on him.

A FORMER cashier of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) will have to spend the next 17 years of his in prison for failure to account for over P17 million of government money from 2002 to 2008.

The Sandiganbayan, in a 57-page decision, affirmed the ruling of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Tuguegarao City that found Ferdinan Llapitan guilty of malversation of public funds.

Llapitan appealed the RTC decision to the anti-graft court which affirmed the ruling.

However, instead of sending Llapitan to prison for life, the anti-graft court reduced his sentence to only 17 years.

The Sandigan also affirmed Llapitan’s lifetime disqualification from holding public office.

The court likewise ordered Llapitan to return to the PRC Region 2 Office more than P17 million with legal interest of six percent a year from the finality of the judgment until full payment.

“Let the necessary Commitment Order be issued. The Division Clerk of Court is directed to make the necessary arrangements for the transfer of accused-appellant Llapitan to the New Bilibid Prison,” the Sandigan said.

The case stemmed from the appeal of Llapitan, arguing that the RTC gravely erred in not finding that there was no full description of how the P17 million shortage was calculated.

Llapitan further argued that the court gravely erred in not finding that the element of doubt was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The anti-graft court said the RTC’s findings and conclusions were based on evidence. It added Llapitan had admitted that he was the only cashier of PRC Region 2 from 1998 to February 2008, meaning that he was solely in charge of the custody and collection of fees.

“Hence, this court agrees with the RTC’s conclusion that the prosecution evidence established, at the very least, a prima facie case for malversation against accused-appellant Llapitan,” it said.

“Clearly, accused-appellant Llapitan’s failure to account for the missing or unremitted funds, and his failure to offer a justifiable explanation for such shortage, despite the demand made by COA, gives rise to a prima facie presumption that he appropriated the subject funds.”

However, the anti-graft court said the RTC erred in imposing a penalty of reclusion perpetua or lifetime imprisonment against Llapitan and in not imposing a fine on him.

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