Sandiganbayan affirms conviction of 2 tourism officials for soliciting money to support city projects

Published March 18, 2021, 3:10 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

The Sandiganbayan has affirmed the conviction of Puerto Princesa City’s tourism department head Aileen Cynthia Maggay Amurao and operations assistant Michael Angelo Lucero Aquino Jr. for soliciting money from private individuals and entities in 2014 to support their projects.

Sandiganbayan (MANILA BULLETIN)

Their motion to reconsider the court’s Nov. 20, 2020 decision was denied by the anti-graft court.

The decision sentenced Amurao and Aquino to a prison term of two years and one day and and ordered to pay a fine of P5,000 each for violation of Section 7(d) of Republic Act No. 6713, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Stands for Public Officials. They were also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

In the same decision, the court acquitted operations assistant Joyce Cabanag Enriquez and officer I Michie Hitosis Meneses.

The four of them were accused of soliciting gifts, gratuity and favors from tourism-oriented private entities or individuals by sending letters for sponsorship and asking for anything of monetary value that can be used for Puerto Princesa’s tourism-related projects.

In convicting Amurao and Aquino, the anti-graft court said the “No Gift Policy” is enshrined in RA 6713.

It said that while their initiative to catalyze tourism development is laudable, the means, method and manner employed were wrong.

The Dec. 7, 2020 motion for reconsideration filed by Amurao and Aquino was denied by the court.

Associate Justice Kevin Narce B. Vivero wrote the resolution with the concurrence of Associate Justices Sarah Jane T. Fernandez and Karl B. Miranda.