THE Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed a Sandiganbayan decision convicting a municipal treasurer of General Luna, Surigao del Norte for using public funds for her personal purposes in 1994.
In an April 2, 2014 decision penned by Associate Justice Jose Portugal Perez, the SC denied the petition filed by Silverina Consigna questioning the ruling of the anti-graft court finding her guilty for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act (R.A.) 3019, otherwise known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and estafa, as defined and penalized under Article 315 (2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
In 1994, Consigna obtained a loan from Hermelina Moleta, the sum of P320,000, to pay for the salaries of the employees of the municipality and to construct the municipal gymnasium as the municipality’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) had not yet arrived.
As payment, the petitioner issued three Land Bank of the Philippines checks signed by Jaime Rusillon, the incumbent mayor of the municipality of General Luna.
Moleta demanded payment from petitioner and Rusillon, but to no avail.
After trial, the Sandiganbayan, on December 12, 2006, found petitioner guilty, but exone- rated Rusillon.
Consigna was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of six years and one month to eight years.
In its decision, the SC stated that “petitioner was charged of violating Sec. 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 under the alternative mode of causing undue injury to Moleta committed with evident bad faith, for which she was correctly found guilty.”
In another case, the anti-graft court found Consigna guilty beyond reasonable doubt of estafa and was sentenced to the indeterminate prison term of six years and one day of prision mayor as minimum, to 20 years of reclusion temporal as maximum.
Rusillon was acquitted as his guilt was not proven with moral certainty.
Consigna was ordered to pay Moleta the amount of P368,739.20 by way of actual damages; P30,000 as moral damages, and the costs of suit.
This prompted Consigna to elevate her case to the high court.
But the high tribunal opined that “all the elements of the crimes as charged [were present in the cases against Consigna.]”
“All told, this court finds no justification to depart from the findings of the court. Petitioner failed to present any cogent reason that would warrant a reversal of the Decision assailed in this petition,” the SC said.