• SC grants bail to ex-Bacolod mayor

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    THE Supreme Court has affirmed the Sandiganbayan’s ruling allowing former Bacolod City mayor Luzviminda Valdez to post bail despite pending charges over alleged unlawful disbursement of public funds.

    State prosecutors had disagreed with the decision of the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division that Valdez is entitled to bail in the four malversation cases, and had approached the High Tribunal for redress.

    But the Supreme Court denied the petition of state prosecutors for lack of merit.
    “Public respondent Sandigan-bayan Fifth Division should be guided by the latest Bail bond Guide. In any case, the amount should correspond to the medium penalty multiplied by Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000) for every year of imprisonment,” the High Court said.

    The case stemmed from the findings of the Commission On Audit Region VI on falsified official receipts issued by an establishment that enabled Valdez to reimburse some P274,306.75 from government.

    Valdez was charged with four cases for Violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 and four counts for the complex crime of Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification.

    “In determining the penalty imposable, it is the penalty for the most serious crime which is considered. Between malversation and falsification, it is malversation which provides the graver penalty. As thus provided under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, “[i]f the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty shall be reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua,” the Supreme Court said.

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