Ex-Angeles mayor convicted of graft

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The Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division has sentenced former Mayor Francis Nepomuceno of Angeles City, Pampanga and a head of a non-government organization (NGO) to a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment for graft in connection with the donation of a city-owned vehicle in 2010.

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Convicted with Nepomucemo was Abelardo Pamintuan Jr., then president of the NGO Kapanalig Angeles City Inc. (Kapanalig).

They were meted six years to a maximum of 10 years in prison on both counts.

“The above-cited guidelines make it clear that accused Nepomuceno’s donation of a serviceable motor vehicle in favor of Kapanalig Inc. is not allowed. Clearly, only the property of the city government which has become unserviceable or is no longer needed may be disposed of, and, as a general rule, [this]disposable property [is]disposed of at a public auction,” the court said in a 26-page decision promulgated on March 27, referring to a Commission on Audit (COA) circular issued in 1992.

“Moreover, even if it is assumed that the donated motor vehicle is no longer needed by the city government, the donation is still irregular for non-compliance with the disposal procedures provided under Section 167, Rule 22 of COA Circular 92-386,” it added.

Nepomuceno and Pamintuan Jr. were charged in 2014 of violating Section 3(e) and 3(g) of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act over the donation of a Mitsubishi Adventure that bore a red plate.

In defense, Nepomuceno cited good faith, saying he sought permission from and was authorized by the city council to execute the deed of donation.

But the court said that while COA Circular 92-386 allows donation with the approval of the city council, this only covers disposable government property.

It observed “that there is ample evidence to show that Kapanalig Inc. as represented by its [then-]President, accused Pamintuan, received unwarranted benefits, advantage and preference when the assailed donation was accepted… Here, the donation accepted by Kapanalig Inc. through its [then-]President, accused Pamintuan, is without justification because the donation of a serviceable motor vehicle which is still in use by the city government is not allowed.”

The ruling was penned by Associate Justice Reynaldo Cruz and concurred in by Associate Justice Alex Quiroz, who heads the court’s Fourth Division, and Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg.

REINA TOLENTINO

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