Sandiganbayan allows convicted town official to undergo probation instead of jail term

Published March 22, 2021, 2:01 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

The Sandiganbayan has allowed the administrative officer of Damanjug town in Cebu to undergo probation instead of serving her prison term ranging from two to eight months for usurpation.

Sandiganbayan (MANILA BULLETIN)
Sandiganbayan (MANILA BULLETIN)

Granted was the motion filed by Emmylou Cabonilas, who was the co-accused of the late Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Gamaliel Garcia.

They were found guilty of violating Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code for signing a Sangguniang Bayan (SB) resolution and usurping the functions of the municipal council secretary in 2014.

On Jan. 20, Cabonilas filed an Application for Probation and said that she qualifies under the Probation Law since the penalty imposed on her does not exceed six years.

She also told the anti-graft court that she has not been previously convicted of another crime against national security and public order.

In a resolution issued last Feb. 8, the anti-graft court said: “Upon initial assessment but without prejudice to the findings of the Probation Officer, Cabonilas may avail of the privilege granted under the Probation Law.”

Probation is a period of supervision ordered by the court over a convicted individual instead of having him or her serve time in prison.

Section 4 of Presidential Decree 968, the Probation Law of 1976, provides that a “court may, after it shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant for a probational penalty and upon application by said defendant within a period for perfecting an appeal, suspend the execution of the sentence and place the defendant on probation for such period and upon such terms and conditions as it may deem best.”

Cabonilas’ probation officer has been given 60 days from the receipt of the resolution to submit a post-sentence investigation and report to the court.

Associate Justice Maria Theresa V. Mendoza-Arcega wrote the resolution with the concurrence of Associate Justices Rafael R. Lagos and Maryann E. Corpus Mañalac.