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Ex-mayor gets jail term for malversation

A former mayor of a town in Nueva Vizcaya has been sentenced to an 18-year prison term after being convicted of malversation during his administration.

Former Villaverde town mayor Rodrigo Tabita, Sr. was convicted for failure to account some P4.3 million in public funds which was given to him as cash advances from 1993 to 2001.

Prosecutors of the office of the Ombudsman (OMB) presented 87 vouchers to prove that Tabita received the amounts released by the municipality to pay for various expenses such as travel, school supplies, and expenses for various projects.

Tabita meanwhile claimed signing blank forms has been the usual practice during his time as mayor of the same town.
In its decision, the Sandiganbayan rejected the troubled ex-mayor’s explanation.

“Tabita’s explanation was inadequate and self-serving for lack of corroboration, either documentary or testimonial,” stated the Sandiganbayan’s decision.

Aside from imprisonment, the accused also meted the accessory penalty of permanent disqualification from holding public office and to pay a fine equivalent to the amount involved in the case. (Jun Ramirez)