By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
The Sandiganbayan Fourth Division has convicted former Dinagat Mayor Gwendolyn Buray Ecleo of Dinagat Islands of three counts of perjury due to the false statements made in her statement of assets liabilities and net worth (SALN) for the years 2006, 2007, and 2010.
She was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violating Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of one year of prision correccional for each count.
Her charges stemmed from her failure to indicate ownership of five motorcycles in her SALNs for 2006, 2007, and 2010. These five motorcycles include one Honda NF100 and four Honda BRAVOs with different plate and engine numbers, which she purchased in 2006 and registered under her name.
To prove Ecleo’s ownership of the motorcycles, the prosecution presented as evidence the Certificates of Registration and the Official Receipts that are all in her name.
In her defense, Ecleo denied ownership of the motorcycles and claimed that it was her former husband, Baltazar Robert Durano, who purchased the motorcycles from Eduhome Enterprises Inc. and used her name to do so.
However, the certification issued by Eduhome Branch Manager Jose Jundy Castillo dated March 1, 2016 made no mention at all of the name of Durano as the one who bought the motorcycles.
“This belies the claim of Ecleo that the actual buyer of the motor vehicles was Durano, who used her name without her knowledge and consent,” the decision stated.
“If, as she claims, Castillo that her that Durano was the one who actually purchased the motorcycles under her name, Ecleo should have insisted that Castillo state such fact in his Certification… to clarify the matter,” the court added.
At the same time, the renewal of the motor vehicles’ registration under Ecleo’s name strongly suggests that she is indeed the true owner of these vehicles.
The 26-page decision was written by Associate Justice Reynaldo Cruz with the concurrence of Chairperson Alex Quiroz and Associate Justice Bayani Jacinto.