By Czarina Nicole Ong
Former Rizal, Laguna officials pleaded guilty before the Sandiganbayan Second Division for failure to render accounts and violation of the Government Auditing Code.
Former Rizal Mayor Rolen Urriquia and municipal treasurer Eva Mendoza were initially charged with graft and malversation for causing unauthorized withdrawals from the municipality’s authorized depository bank
totalling P317,415.35 without any supporting documents from March 18 to 31, 2010.
They pleaded not guilty to these charges, but upon the advice of their counsel, they pleaded guilty to lesser charges
during their re-arraignment.
Instead of graft and malversation, they pleaded guilty for violation of Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code or Failure of Accountable Officer to Render Account and violation of Section 106 in relation to Section 128 of P.D. 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines.
Since there was no opposition from the prosecution, the court agreed and sentenced them to pay a total fine of
P3,000 each – P1,000 for the Government Auditing Code and P2,000 for Failure to Render Account.
“Conformably with Section 2, Rule 116 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, the plea of guilty of accused Urriquia and Mendoza to the lesser offenses mentioned above was with the consent of the prosecution,” the four-page decision read.
It was signed by Chairperson Oscar Herrera Jr. and concurred by Associate Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Lorifel Pahimna.