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Barangay chairman, treasurer convicted of malversation
16 December 2013, Press Release Ombudsman

The Office of the Ombudsman won the criminal charges filed against a barangay chairman and a barangay treasurer in Tondo, Manila for misappropriating public funds in 2001.

             In a 10-page Decision, Presiding Judge Dinnah C. Aguila-Topacio of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 42, found Chairman Leo C. De Guzman, and Treasurer Violeta F. Arendela, both of Barangay 95, Zone 8, District 1, Tondo, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Malversation of Public Funds (Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code) and Falsification by a Public Officer (Article 171 of the RPC).

             De Guzman and Arendela were each sentenced to suffer the penalty of one year and one day of prision correctional as minimum to eight years and one day of prision mayor as maximum for the crime of Falsification; and for the crime of Malversation, 12 years and 10 days of reclusion temporal as   minimum to 17 years and four months of reclusion temporal as maximum.

              The court found that in September 2001, De Guzman and Arendela malversed the barangay funds worth P157,850.93 and converted the same to their own personal use or benefit.

             In order to secure the release of monetary privileges in the form of additional honoraria, wages and reimbursements, De Guzman and Arendela falsified a barangay resolution by cutting the signatory portion of a 2000 Sangguniang Barangay (SB) Resolution and attaching it to a new resolution which was photocopied and filed after using correction fluid to erase certain entries such as the date and travelling expenses.

             They made it appear that the resolution was unanimously passed, approved and signed by all members of the Barangay Council on April 15, 2001 when in truth they never participated, approved or signed the same.

             The Disbursement Vouchers showed that De Guzman approved the amount which were received by Arendela and himself, respectively, to advance the payment for barangay tanods as well as street sweeper allowances, additional and travelling expense.

             The General Payroll, on the other hand, showed how the claims were allegedly spent and who received which amount.

             Two of the defense witnesses, Federico Dionisio and Romeo Simbol, a street sweeper and barangay tanod, respectively, even admitted to having received their compensation in 2001.

             â€œThe accused (De Guzman and Arendela) thus clearly permitted the said witnesses to take public funds even when the resolution, which was the basis thereof was without any color of authority,” the ruling stated.           

            “Based on the evidence presented, the accused are liable for the charges brought against them. The court’s stance is not swayed by the testimony of both accused in open court, which consisted mostly of a denial of the crime imputed against them.”

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