The Sandiganbayan’s Seventh Division convicted former Municipal Mayor Jesus Rico Sarmiento of Garchitorena, Camarines Sur for breach of conduct and ordered him to pay P2,000 fine after he pleaded guilty to the charge.
According to the anti-graft court’s three-page decision promulgated on November 10, Sarmiento, assisted by a lawyer, pleaded guilty upon his arraignment on October 27.
“Accused was fully apprised of the consequences of his plea in open Court. In clear terms, he stated in the affirmative that he understood the nature of his plea; that if he pleaded guilty to the charge, he is deemed to have admitted all the accusations alleged in the Information to which a consequent penalty of imprisonment not exceeding P5,000 or both, and, in the discretion of the court, disqualification to hold public office, may be imposed pursuant to Sections 7 (d) and 11 (a) of Republic Act 6713,” the court said.
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6713 is the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
In a case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman early this year it alleged that in 2014 the former mayor “solicit[ed]or accept[ed], directly or indirectly, a gift, gratuity, favor, benefit, by repeatedly using the two vehicles of one of the town’s then-contractors who had several on-going projects with the said Municipality at the time material to this case…”
Associate Justice Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta, head of the court’s Seventh Division, penned the ruling which was concurred in by Associate Justices Lorifel Pahimna and Bayani Jacinto.