By Chito Chavez
A Quezon City court has meted the sentence of up to 18 years imprisonment against a former Land Registration Authority (LRA) official for demanding P620,000 from a property owner to facilitate the process of the necessary documents for the latter’s property.
In a decision, Judge Juris Dilinila-Callanta of the QC Regional Trial Court found the accused, former Records Officer 1 Maybel Umpa guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of estafa and violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).
The court sentenced Umpa to suffer the penalty of six years to eight years of imprisonment for the graft case and four years to 10 years for estafa.
The cases stemmed from the complaints of Lory Malibiran who claimed that on Oct. 15, 2010, Umpa demanded and received from her the amount of P620,000 in exchange for facilitating the approved plan, tax declaration and the titling of a real estate property located in Rodriguez, Rizal.
After a couple of weeks, Malibiran failed to get the document despite her persistent follow-ups.
Witnesses presented by the prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman during the trial, testified that Umpa claimed “to possess the power and influence in producing and facilitating the titling of property.”
Prosecutors also presented a document where Umpa agreed to settle the amount she received from Malibiran.
In her decision, Callanta ruled that the accused capitalized on her official function to commit the crimes charged.
“Without her (Umpa) position, accused could not have induced Malibiran to part with his money. In the same vein, accused could not have orchestrated a scheme of receiving money from Malibiran, who believed that she could facilitate the titling of the property, which thus, led him to part with his money in the amount of P620,000.00,” as stated in the decision.
The court also ordered Umpa to pay Mabiliran the amount of P620,000 as actual damages.