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Ex-Mayor Of Palawan Convicted
« on: December 25, 2017, 07:59:19 PM »
Former Palawan Mayor convicted of estafa
14 August 2013

            The Sandiganbayan convicted a former mayor of Rizal, Palawan for tampering four checks amounting to P68,432.76 and pocketing the money in 2002.

            In a 17-page Decision penned by Justice Maria Cristina Cornejo and concurred in by Justices Gregory Ong and Jose Hernandez, the court’s Fourth Division found Samson Degillo guilty of four counts of the complex crime of Estafa thru Falsification of Public Document (Article 315 paragraph 1(b) and Article 171 in relation to Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code), and sentenced him to suffer for each count the indeterminate penalty of one year, one month and 10 days as minimum to 10 years and one day as maximum, with fine worth P3,000.           

            Records revealed that Degillo received several checks in payment of purchases and other expenses for his counter-signature, with the obligation to return the checks to municipal treasurer Rufina Bundag Bungalso for release to the payees/claimants—JGT Trading and TGT Shell Station, both in Rizal, Palawan.

            Instead of returning the checks to Bungalso, Degillo signed at the dorsal side of the checks the names of the payees, thereby making it appear that the payees indorsed the checks for encashment.

            During trial, Dolorosa Alcasid, one of the seven witnesses presented by the Office of the Ombudsman, testified that she was invited by the provincial council to clarify on the complaints of TGT and JGT.

            Alcasid, Degillo’s clerk, bared that the mayor was so angry upon learning that she showed her logbook record of checks to the council members who had them photocopied.

            It was revealed that the mayor took the logbook from Alcasid’s possession.

            She also testified that Degillo only returned the logbook after two years with many alterations or markings and instructed her to reconstruct it.

            In the Decision, the anti-graft court found that Degillo did not account for the proceeds of the checks intended for transactions with the two firms.

            “With respect to the subject checks, the trail ended in [Degillo’s] office. Alcasid testified that when she received the bundle of checks to be returned to the Office of the Municipal Treasurer, the subject checks were not included,” the ruling stated.

            The court added that those checks were encashed because of the indorsements found at the back of the checks.

            It was ruled that “the indorsements were falsified as the very person authorized by the payee to sign the documents stated that those signatures are not his signatures.”

            The Sandiganbayan found that the totality of the prosecution’s evidence and the probative value accorded thereto, consistent as they are with law and applicable jurisprudence, clearly show that the prosecution has discharged its burden of proof.

             â€œThe presumption of authorship of the falsification arises under the circumstances. The presumption that whoever has in his possession or uses a spurious document is its forger, applies in the absence of satisfactory explanation,” the court held.

            “In a crime of estafa, reimbursement or belated payment to the offended party of the money swindled by the accused does not extinguish the criminal liability of the accused,” the Decision added.

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