A fair warning to wayward bankers-A A +A
Sunday, March 3, 2013
DURA lex sed lex.
A former president of a closed rural bank learned this well-known legal adage the hard way after the Supreme Court declared his earlier conviction for estafa through falsification “final and executory.”
Hilario P. Soriano, former Chairman/President of the closed Rural Bank of San Miguel (Bulacan), had been convicted of estafa through falsification— in a case filed by his own brother Antonio—before the Manila Regional Trial Court.
Instead of applying for probation, Soriano appealed his conviction before the CA, which affirmed the conviction.
When said conviction was appealed before the Supreme Court, the conviction was again reaffirmed. The SC decision became final and executory on September 17, 2012.
Soriano is now imprisoned at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City, where he is serving a term of four months to four years. He was also ordered to pay a fine of P5,000.
But his woes won’t end there. Soriano is actually facing a slew of estafa cases filed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The criminal cases stemmed from his “fraudulent misappropriation” of the proceeds of the Rural Bank of San Miguel’s emergency loans from the BSP—prior to the bank’s declaration of a bank holiday.
Investigation conducted by the BSP’s Office of Special Investigation, headed by Atty. Gene Penaco, revealed that part of the emergency loan proceeds eventually ended up in Soriano’s Valle Verde residence.
In a decision dated April 3, 2007, the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 11 convicted Soriano on all four counts of estafa filed by the BSP.
He was sentenced to suffer imprisonment of 10 to 14 years for each count, and to pay the BSP and co-complainant Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation an approximate amount of P33.6 million.
The following year, another Malolos RTC branch convicted Soriano of one count of estafa.
The Malolos RTC Branch 15 sentenced the former rural bank president to imprisonment of 10 to 12 years. He was also ordered to pay the BSP the amount of P360,000.
Soriano then appealed both convictions before the Court of Appeals (CA). However the appellate court affirmed both convictions.
The CA also modified the judgment of the earlier conviction: Soriano was sentenced to suffer imprisonment of four to 20 years -- instead of 10 to 14 years -- for each count.
Soriano has elevated both convictions before the Supreme Court, which has yet to resolve both appeals.
In the meantime, the BSP had filed six more criminal cases of the same nature against Soriano.
The estafa cases, filed in 2000, are now pending before the RTC-Malolos Branches 17 and 83.
This should serve as fair warning to wayward bank officers who violate their fiduciary responsibility that requires high standards of integrity and performance.
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