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UPDATED: Dead Isabela mayor convicted of ghost sale of vans

Oct 28, 2015 @ 12:21

The Sandiganbayan convicted a dead mayor of falsification despite his excuse that he was enticed by a conspirator’s glib of the tongue.

The Sandiganbayan First Division convicted former Jones mayor Florante Raspado of falsification under the Revised Penal Code.

In a decision by the antigraft court, Raspado was found guilty of helping former Isabela Rep. Antonio Abaya (now deceased) for the ghost delivery of 21 refurbished Mitsubishi Delica vans using Abaya’s P7.72 million Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF).

Raspado, now a vice mayor, was killed in June 19, 2015 when armed men opened fire at a council session he presided. Two soldiers were arrested for the attack which is believed to be politically motivated.

The court rendered the guilty conviction because it has yet to receive Raspado’s death certificate.

Raspado made a defense that he merely signed the Invoice Receipt of Property which made it appear vehicles were delivered because of the “glib of the tongue” of Robert Ngo, Abaya’s representative who was also convicted for falsification.

But the court said it is not buying Raspado’s defense to escape liability.

“It escapes logic that such seasoned public officers could readily succumb to the prodding and glib tongue of accused Ngo,” the court said.

Ngo was convicted for three counts of falsification. Meanwhile, two other conspirators in the crime – former Isabela State University President Miguel Ramos and Department of Transportation and Communications Director Venancio Santidad – were also found guilty of one count and 21 counts of Reckless Imprudence resulting to Falsification of Public Document, respectively.

During the trial, Ombudsman prosecutors were able to prove that Raspado and Ramos signed the Invoice Receipt of Property (IRP) to prove that there was was a turn-over of vehicles despite the ghost delivery.

Santidad also signed all of the 21 IRPs to certify that all 21 vehicles were transferred to the fourth district of Isabela.

Apparently, none of the vehicles were registered with Abaya, the DOTC, or any of the officials involved.

State auditors also said the beneficiaries denied receiving any vans.

In a statement, the Ombudsman said the “sale was a farce.”

The court also said it “sees no semblance of good faith when they willingly subscribed to a patently false narration of facts.”

“(The) integrity of the [IRP] as a document was greatly compromised because of their intentionally placed signatures,” the court added.

Raspado was ordered jailed for two years, four months and one day as minimum, and eight years and one day as maximum, with a fine of P5,000.

Ngo was sentenced to six months and one day as minimum to six years and one day as maximum imprisonment, with a fine of P5,000.

Ramos was sentenced to a prison term of four months as minimum to two years, 10 months and 21 days as maximum.

Santidad was sentenced to a prison term of four months as minimum to two years, 10 months, and 21 days for each count.

Santidad was also ordered to pay P7.56 million as civil liability, while Raspado, Ngo and Ramos were ordered to pay P360,000 for each count.

Meanwhile, the case of Leoncio Kiat, former Mayor of Echague, Isabela, was dismissed following his death in 2011.

 

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