Sandiganbayan convicts former Iloilo town mayor, 2 others of falsification

MANILA-- The Sandiganbayan has convicted former Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo Mayor Pedro Hautea, Municipal Engineer Norman Lustria and Barangay Tinorian Chairman Manuel Siaotong of three counts of falsification of public/official documents.

The Sandiganbayan sentenced the three accused to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of six to eight years for each count.

They were also meted the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office and were each ordered to pay a fine of Php 5,000 for each count.

Prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) presented evidence that from December 2000 to January 2001, Hautea, et al. falsified the Project Status Report, Time Book and Payroll and acknowledgement of Turnover and Custody of project to make it appear that the construction of the Tinorian mini-market was already completed.

However, records of the Ombudsman's probe found that the project was completed only in September 2001.

In its ruling, the Sandiganbayan said that "the accused took advantage of their official functions to commit the falsification when they affixed their respective signatures in the Project Status Report as they are duty-bound to intervene in the preparation thereof as a means to double check the reported status of each project."

"The falseness of their statement is substantiated by their respective admissions that the construction of the mini-market was delayed," the Sandiganbayan added.

Source: Philippines News Agency