Conviction of ex-mayor, town accountant affirmed

Published May 31, 2021, 3:03 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki


The Sandiganbayan has affirmed the conviction of former Mayor Norlaine Mitmug Limbona of Pantar, Lanao del Norte and Municipal Accountant Paganaibae Abinal Macaumbos for graft and violations of the Government Auditing Code in the irregular grant of P11.8 million cash advances in 2008.

Upheld were their prison term ranging from six to 10 years for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and the fine of P20,000 each for their 20 counts of violations of Section 89, in relation to Section 128, of Presidential Decree No. 1445 or the Government Auditing Code.

The case against acting Municipal Treasurer Orac Galmac Racmat, to whom the cash advances were given, has been archived because he has remained at-large.

In their motion for reconsideration filed last March 29, Limbona and Macaumbos claimed that the documents that were used as evidence against them were incomplete and had a “hearsay nature.”

They also pointed out that no witness was presented who could claim personal knowledge of the cash advances in any aspect — when they were made, when they were allowed, and whether or not they were liquidated.

In its resolution issued last May 19, the anti-graft court said both Limbona and Macaumbos had already paid the fine of P20,000 each in relation to the finding of guilt of the crime related to the Government Auditing Code and, thus, the judgment of conviction had already attained finality.

On the graft conviction, the court noted that there were no new and substantial matters raised that would warrant a reversal of the decision.

The court said: “A thorough examination of the accused-movants’ arguments shows that these are mere rehash of the matters previously raised during the trial. These were already extensively discussed in our challenged decision.”

Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang wrote the 14-page resolution with the concurrence of Associate Justices Bernelito R. Fernandez and Ronald B. Moreno.