Former Pasig City barangay execs convicted for malversation

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A former barangay captain of Manggahan, Pasig City and three others were convicted by a Metropolitan Trial Court for three counts of malversation.

The Office of the Ombudsman secured the conviction of former Barangay Captain Cresenciano Cruz of Manggahan, Pasig City, for three counts of Illegal Use of Public Funds or Technical Malversation, under the article 220 of the Revised Penal Code.

Also found guilty were barangay officials Amador Balba, Ricardo Faraon and Bobby Bobis.

The decision issued by Branch 69 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City also ordered the three to each pay a total fine of P30,000 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.

It was found out that in 2001, the barangay set aside P2.18 million of its annual budget for the acquisition of land for a relocation site. However, records showed that on 25 September 2001, the accused signed and approved three separate resolutions authorizing the re-alignment of the barangay funds.

Out of its barangay funds, Cruz and his co-accused unlawfully transferred and re-aligned a total of P600,000.00 for the procurement of computer sets, handheld radio devices, supplies and materials.

Judge Christian Emmanuel Pimentel concurred with the Ombudsman and ruled that “the prosecution was able to establish the guilt of the respondents as it is evident that the resolutions were approved unanimously by them. Therefore, it can only be concluded that there was unity of purpose, and the respondents came to an agreement to re-align the funds.”

For their defense, Faraon and Bobis maintain that they are not criminally liable because they are not accountable public officers who have actual control of public funds. Furthermore, they said that even without their approval, the funds would still be disbursed if the Barangay Chairman or Treasurer wanted to.

However, Judge Pimentel ruled that, “assuming that Faraon and Bobis’ power is legislative in nature, the same still do not exonerate them from criminal liability as their signatures on the resolutions is an unequivocal proof that they participated in the re-aligning of the public funds.”

Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code penalizes public officers who shall apply any public fund or property under his administration to any public use other than for which such fund or property were appropriated by law or ordinance.