A FORMER vice governor of Zamboanga del Sur was convicted by the Sandiganbayan of graft for illegal disbursement of government funds.

According to a statement published on the Office of the Ombudsman's website, convicted was former Zamboanga del Sur vice governor Tirsendo Poloyapoy, who was found guilty for violating Section 3e of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Poloyapoy illegally disbursed P3.7 million in financial assistance to the Soya Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in 2001, the Ombudsman said.

The anti-graft court also convicted Mario Octavio Arsenal, president of SFMPC, for conspiring with Poloyapoy in the illegal fund disbursement.

The Office of the Ombudsman prosecutors "were able to prove that the requirements for the financial grant were not fully complied with since SFMPC was not duly registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) as required in COA Circular 96-003" and "that the cooperative registered with the CDA is not SFMPC but the Tabina Soya Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative."

The financial assistance was also said to have been granted despite the "non-submission of the project statement, including identification of farmer-beneficiaries, standards for project implementation, project cost estimates and systems and monitoring and inspection requirements."

"The Sandiganbayan ruled that Poloyapoy caused undue injury to the government when he unlawfully disbursed funds to SFMPC despite his knowledge that the cooperative had no legal personality," the statement read.

Poloyapoy and Arsenal were sentenced to imprisonment, ranging from six years and one month to eight years, and also meted out the "accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from public office."

They were also ordered for them to pay the government in the amount of P3.7 million.

In the meantime, the cases against co-accused Provincial Accountant Ma. Eden Tagayuna, Agricultural Technicians Roderick Pascual and Osmundo Lumapas were archived pending their arrest. (KGL)