Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Ex-PCGG chair gets 10 years for graft

Former Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chairman Camilo Sabio has been sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison for graft.

The Sandiganbayan found him guilty of allowing himself in 2008 to be persuaded by a lawyer into calling his brother, then Associate Justice Jose Sabio Jr. of the Court of Appeals, to influence the latter’s decision on a pending case.

Magistrates of the anti-graft court’s Special Fourth Division said ombudsman prosecutors, after three years of trial, was able to prove its case. The charges stemmed from how lawyer Jesus Santos allegedly asked Sabio to call his brother to influence a ruling on the case of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) versus Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

Anti-graft probers, who indicted him in 2016, said the former PCGG chairman tried to convince his brother to help the GSIS by ruling against a request for the issuance of a temporary restraining order that would favor Meralco.

“Without a doubt, accused Sabio was persuaded to call Justice Sabio after he spoke on the phone with Atty. Santos, who asked for his help,” the Sandiganbayan said. Associate Justices Reynaldo Cruz, Bayani Jacinto and Kevin Narce Vivero said such act was in violation of Cannon 30 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for Lawyers.

But two magistrates—Associate Justices Alex Quiroz and Efren Dela Cruz—disagreed and issued separate dissenting opinions noting that while they agree with the acquittal of Sabio in a second graft charge, the latter should also be acquitted in the first.

“From the foregoing, the Court finds in this case that the prosecution established all the elements of the crime beyond reasonable doubt, and the evidence adduced are sufficient to support the conviction of the accused,” the Sandiganbayan’s majority decision read.
SOURCE: www.philstar.com