• Ex-PCGG chief guilty of influence peddling

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    THE Court of Appeals has affirmed a decision of the Office of the Ombudsman finding former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Chairman Camilo Sabio administratively liable for influencing his brother, former CA Associate Justice Jose Sabio, to rule in favor of a party in a case pending before the latter’s chamber in the Meralco case in 2008.

    In a March 31, 2015 decision penned by Associate Justice Sesinando Villon and concurred in by Associate Justices Rodil Zalameda and Pedro Corales, the CA’s 13th Division denied a petition for review filed by Sabio for lack of merit.

    Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales had found probable cause to indict Chairman Sabio for two counts of violation of Section 3(a) of Republic Act 3019 (Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and for violation of Article 243 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).

    The anti-graft office ruled that the former PCGG chief was guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

    Considering, however, that he is no longer employed in the government, he was meted the penalty of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification to hold public office.

    The penalty is seen to stand as a result of the CA’s denial of Sabio’s petition for review.

    The case stemmed from an administrative complaint filed by the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (FIO) against the former PCGG chief.

    Another administrative complaint was also filed by Alain Baguisi, Ma. Kristina Conti and Leander Marquez against Sabio and former CA Justice Sabio.

    On May 30, 2008, Sabio allegedly contacted Justice Sabio and tried to persuade the latter to decide in favor of one party in a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order, filed by the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) against the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Government Insurance Service System (GSIS).

    Sabio supposedly tried to convince Justice Sabio “of the rightness of the stand of the GSIS and asked his brother to help the GSIS, which represents the interest of the poor people.”

    Justice Sabio was excluded as respondent in the complaint filed by the FIO “since records do not show that he had been influenced by his elder brother.

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