Guilty! Noveleta mayor Torres sentenced to 7 years in jail for misusing P1M
Noveleta, Cavite Vice Mayor Dionisio Torres has been sentenced to a seven-year imprisonment for having misappropriated a P1 million soft loan.
The Sandiganbayan Special 3rd Division convicted Torres after having found him guilty of malversation of public funds.
Apart from a prison term, the anti-graft court also slapped him with perpetual disqualification from holding public office as well as ordered him to pay a fine of P1 million.
Under the case, Torres is accused of having misappropriated, when he was a mayor in 2002, a P1 million soft loan from the Isang Bayan, Isang Produkto, Isang Milyong Piso program of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“Indeed, the court finds that the accused was palpably negligent in the handling of the subject amount of Php1,000,000.00 which he received for the Municiaplity of Noveleta, Cavite,” the court decision read.
“As then municipal mayor, the accused had a sworn duty to safely keep public funds and disburse the same in accordance with standard procedure because the subject funds belong to the municipality and must only be used for the benefit of the same,” it added.
Torres claimed the funds were supposed to be used to conduct a feasibility study for the Iodized Salt Manufacturing Operation in Noveleta.
After appointing then-municipal treasurer Teresita Vales and a certain Vicky Nicanor, Torres claimed they withdrew P1 million in four tranches without his consent.
However, the court found his defense “insufficient to rebut the prima facie presumption of misappropriation against him.”
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