REGIONAL Trial Court Judge Generosa has convicted a former cashier of the Cebu Ports Authority (CPA) for pocketing his collection amounting to P15,817.70.
Labra, of the RTC Branch 23, found Romeo Pañares guilty of malversation of public funds.
“The prosecution was able to establish proof beyond reasonable doubt of the existence of the elements of the crime hurled against the accused,” read Labra’s judgment. Labra sentenced Pañares from 10 to 14 years in jail and disqualified him from working again in government.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by the Ombudsman-Visayas’ Field Investigation Office, which cited state auditor’s findings on the discrepancies of Pañares’ collection for January 2003 until December 2004. Lawyer Chona Labrague of the Commission on Audit 7 testified on the convict’s shortage of his remittance.
On March 17, 2006, auditors sent a demand letter to Pañares, but he failed to explain the shortage. Pañares denied the accusation.
Labra ruled that Pañares is presumed to have misappropriated his collection when he failed to justify the shortage.
“In the case at bar, the prosecution was able to prove that accused incurred shortage in his collection in the amount of P15,817.70 and that he failed to explain or justify the said shortage,” read Labra’s ruling.
Citing COA report, the judge ruled that Pañares “intentionally made it appear in the records that his total collections balanced with his total deposits each month.”
But the judge said Pañares’ remittance showed that he made it appear that his cash collections on the previous day were deposited the following day. (GMD)