Ex-barangay officials sentenced to jail for pocketing funds

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A MANILA court found a former barangay chairman and treasurer in the city’s Tondo district guilty of misappropriating public funds in 2001.

Sentenced to jail by the Manila Regional Trial Court branch 42 for malversation and falsification by a public officer were Leo de Guzman (chairman) and Violeta Arendela (treasurer) from Barangay 95, Zone 8, District 1 in Tondo.

De Guzman and Arendela will suffer a prison term of one year to eight years for falsification and 12 to 17 years and four months for malversation, according to the decision written by Judge Dinnah Aguila-Topacio.

The court found that De Guzman and Arendela malversed the barangay funds worth P157,850.93 and converted the same to their own personal use or benefit in September 2001.

To secure additional income, the two falsified documents to make it appear that the barangay council approved a resolution allowing the release of funds for salaries of street sweepers and travelling expenses. The members of the council denied approving the fake resolution dated April 15, 2001.

Disbursement vouchers showed that De Guzman approved the amount which was received by Arendela and himself, respectively, to advance the payment for barangay tanods as well as street sweeper allowances, additional and travelling expense.

The general payroll, on the other hand, showed how the claims were allegedly spent and who received which amount.

Two of the defense witnesses, Federico Dionisio and Romeo Simbol, a street sweeper and barangay tanod, respectively, even admitted to having received their compensation in 2001.

“The accused (De Guzman and Arendela) thus clearly permitted the said witnesses to take public funds even when the resolution, which was the basis thereof was without any color of authority,” the ruling stated.

“Based on the evidence presented, the accused are liable for the charges brought against them. The court's stance is not swayed by the testimony of both accused in open court, which consisted mostly of a denial of the crime imputed against them,” the Court said. (Sunnex)

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