Sandiganbayan junks appeal of ex-QC barangay secretary

Published November 2, 2019, 10:59 AM

by Rica Arevalo

By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

The Sandiganbayan Special Third Division has junked the motion for reconsideration filed by former Quezon City barangay secretary Carolyn Tabora, seeking to convince the anti-graft court to reverse her graft conviction.

Sandiganbayan (MANILA BULLETIN)
Sandiganbayan (MANILA BULLETIN)

Tabora was convicted on August 19, 2017, by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 98 of six counts of violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. For each count, she was sentenced to six years and one month as minimum to 10 years as maximum for each of the six graft charges. She is also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

This was for allowing barangay kagawad Raymond Allan Ronario to claim his salary even though he was out of the country and unable to render services.

She filed an appeal before the Sandiganbayan afterwards, arguing that there was no sufficient evidence proving that she committed graft and corruption. Because of this, she prayed that her conviction be reversed. However, her appeal was denied on August 14.

Tabora then filed a motion for reconsideration on September 9, stressing that the prosecution was not able to establish the third element of undue injury to the government or giving unwarranted benefit to the barangay kagawad.

She added there was no proof that Ronario received his salary from July to December 2004, especially since the prosecution did not present Ronario as a witness during the proceedings of the lower court.

Tabora also claimed that her failure to cross out the name of Ronario in the payroll should only be construed as an “excusable error” because when she signed the certification, the signature of Ronario was missing. This therefore meant that he was absent and did not render the services during the period in question.

However, the Sandiganbayan found Tabora’s motion devoid of merit, stating that Tabora did not raise any new matter that would warrant the reversal of her conviction.

While Ronario was not presented as a witness, the original copies of his daily wages payroll were submitted by the prosecution. These payrolls certified that Ronario indeed received his salaries despite being absent.

The court likewise did not buy into her argument of “excusable error.”

“Indeed, the act of removing the name of Ronario from the daily wages payrolls was a very simple task which appellant-movant could have easily done had she exercised even a modicum of diligence. Her failure to do so amounted to gross inexcusable negligence characterized by want of the slightest care with conscious indifference to consequences,” the resolution stated.

The seven-page resolution was penned by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang with the concurrence of Associate Justices Sarah Jane Fernandez and Bernelito Fernandez.