By Czarina Nicole Ong
Former Philippine State College of Aeronautics (PhilSCA) President Enerico Sampang has been convicted by the Sandiganbayan Third Division for anomalous cash advance he made for his travel back in 2007.
Sampang was found guilty for violation of Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code for failing to liquidate P14,000, which he received as cash advance from PhilSCA for his official travel to Dapitan City from March 27 to 29, 2007.
He was sentenced to pay a fine of P6,000 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and he was also ordered to indemnify the PhilSCA with P14,000.
Sampang pleaded not guilty during his arraignment. During the trial, he insisted that he filed the liquidation documents for his travelling expenses. He further argued that there was a conspiracy in his office to malign him and make it appear as if he did not liquidate the P14,000.
On the other hand, the prosecution presented Evelyn Navigar, the chief accountant at the time, who confirmed that Sampang indeed failed to liquidate his cash advance within the prescribed period.
The prosecution likewise presented the demand letters made by the Commission on Audit (COA) on May 15, 2009; June 7, 2010; and November 29, 2012. All three letters demanded the liquidation of the P14,000, but all three remained unheeded.
Because of this, the court is convinced “without doubt” that Sampang is guilty of the crime charged.
“It must be noted that, during the time when the first demand was made by COA, the accused was still the incumbent president of PhilSCA, hence, had direct control and supervision over his subordinates who handled the liquidation documents,” the decision read.
“If he indeed submitted the necessary liquidation documents to the accounting office, he could have easily requested from the said office or even ordered the accountant to produce the liquidation documents, but he did not,” it added.
The court also said that Sampang had all the time and opportunity to settle his cash advances or produce the liquidation documents. Unfortunately, he remained unresponsive.