Two former officials of Pantabangan town in Nueva Ecija have been convicted by the Sandiganbayan of criminal charges for failure to remit punctually to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) the premium contributions of an employee from 2007 to 2010.
Former accountant Rosita A. Yang has been convicted of 33 counts of violations of Section 52 (g) of Republic Act No. 8291, the GSIS Act of 1997, while former treasurer Jorja B. Palacio was convicted of 26 counts.
Yang and Palacio were sentenced to a prison term of one year as minimum to two years as maximum for each count. Yang was ordered to pay a fine of P10,000 for each charge or a total of P330,000 for the 33 counts, while Palacio was directed to pay P260,000 total for the 26 counts.
The accused were also banned perpetually from holding public office and from practicing any profession or calling licensed by the government.
Section 52 (g) of RA 8291 provides that “the heads of the offices of the national government, its political subdivisions …, and the personnel of such offices who are involved in the collection of premium contributions… due the GSIS who shall fail, refuse or delay the payment, turnover, remittance or delivery of such accounts … within thirty (30) days from the time that the same shall have been due and demandable shall, upon conviction by final judgment, suffer the penalties of imprisonment of not less than one (1) year nor more than five (5) years….”
Yang and Palacio failed to remit the GSIS premium contributions of Gerardo O. Sator for the months of October to December in 2007, January to March and May to December in 2008, January to December in 2009, and January to August in 2010 within 30 days from the time the premium contributions became due and demandable.
During the trial, the prosecution was able to prove that Sator’s premium contributions were remitted to the GSIS beyond the required 30-day period.
In their defense, Yang and Palacio said they did not contribute to the failure in the remittance of Sator’s contributions.
They claimed that they prepared the documents necessary for the remittances every month, and the only reason why these were not turned over to the GSIS was because former Mayor Romeo Borja Sr. refused to sign the checks.
But the Sandiganbayan said the disbursement vouchers and checks presented by Yang and Palacio did not show that the documents were prepared on time.
“There is nothing in the evidence on record that would show that said vouchers and checks were transmitted to the concerned offices on time, to ensure that the amounts were remitted to the GSIS within the prescribed period,” the court said.
The decision was written by Associate Justice Sarah Jane T. Fernandez and concurred in by Associate Justices Karl B. Miranda and Kevin Narce B. Vivero.