THE Sandiganbayan’s Second Division convicted former commander of the Naval Eduction and Training Command (NETC) Rear Adm. Constancio Jardiniano Jr. and former NETC Special Disbursing officer Lt. Cmdr. Manuel Gimena of malversation involving P83,934.
In a 69-page decision promulgated on Oct. 25, 2019 and penned by Associate Justice Michael Frederick Musngi, the court sentenced them to four years, two months and a day up to eight years and a day in prison with perpetual disqualification from holding any public office. It fined them P83,934.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed the malversation case before the Sandiganbayan in 2011 and found a total of P83,934 “to have been malversed.” They failed to return the said amount from the cash advance of P343,297 used to purchase supplies.
The key witness was Carlito Varias, a state auditor of the Commission on Audit from 1997 up to the time of his testimony and resident auditor at the NETC from Nov. 1, 2000 to Oct. 31, 2006. He was also the one who evaluated the documents.
Gimena and Jardiniano signed the liquidation vouchers of the disbursements. When Varias evaluated the documents submitted, he found that certain receipts in the vouchers were spurious and issued audit observation memorandums to the accused.
Both the accused failed to provide the funds and could not provide a credible explanation where it was.
Although it was proven that the two former officers conspired to malverse funds, they were acquitted of charges of falsification of documents for lack of sufficient evidence.