Sandiganbayan affirms conviction of ex-Zambales provincial assessor

By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki 

The Sandiganbayan has affirmed its decision convicting former Officer-in-Charge Provincial Assessor Roberto R. Corpus of Iba, Zambales of 37 counts of graft in relation to the mix-up of tax declarations and was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment.

Sandiganbayan (MANILA BULLETIN) Sandiganbayan (MANILA BULLETIN)

Corpus was found guilty of 37 violations of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for causing the issuance of tax declarations to several individuals even though it was already declared and covered by tax certificates in Subic, Zambales under the names of spouses Rolando and Marites Young, which totalled to 19.6880 hectares.

He was sentenced to imprisonment of six years and one month as minimum to 10 years and one day as maximum for each of the charges with perpetual disqualification from holding public office and loss of all retirement and gratuity benefits. However, the duration of his total imprisonment shall not exceed 40 years.

After his conviction, Corpus filed a motion for reconsideration on October 14 and questioned the court's ruling since the cancellation of tax declarations in case of conflicting claims can only be done after a letter request has been made. In this case, no such letter request has been made and sent to him.

Even if there is a written request or title presented, Corpus argued that the tax declarations may not be cancelled if the declarant refuses.

Unfortunately for him, the anti-graft court saw no merit in his MR. "Accused-movant has failed to put forth any newly discovered evidence. Moreover, no irregularities that marred the trial have been cited. Hence, elementary due process has been solicitously observed," the resolution read.

The anti-graft court further stressed that its findings are based on facts established during the trial, and its conclusions are all anchored on applicable laws and jurisprudential precedents.

The five-page resolution was written by Associate Justice Kevin Narce Vivero with the concurrence of Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez and Associate Justice Kevin Miranda.