Ex-prosecutor faces five years for solicitation

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A former public prosecutor is facing jail time for demanding and receiving money from a private complainant in exchange for his effective prosecution of a murder case pending before a Mambusao, Capiz trial court in 2001.

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The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division has found ex-Assistant Provincial Prosecutor II Romulo Vega Gotico guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 7 (d) of Republic Act 6713 also known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

“Pursuant to Section 11 of the same law, accused is meted the penalty of imprisonment of five years and to pay a fine of P5,000 with perpetual disqualification to hold public office,” Associate Justice Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta wrote in a 31-page ruling.

The decision was concurred by Fifth Division Chairman Roland Jurado and Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo.

“Why two unschooled simpletons such as Anelia V. Olano and her mother, Dolores S. Vilbar, could be swayed, if not actually compelled, into believing that they have to pay the accused for every scheduled hearing in the prosecution of the murder case is indeed revolting, as it inevitably desecrate the justice system the accused represents,” the anti-graft court said.

The Office of the Ombudsman in Visayas found ground to charge Gotico with breach of conduct following an entrapment operation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation’s Western Visayas Regional Office in Iloilo.

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