Former Mayor Wilson M. Nandang of Labangan town in Zamboanga del Sur had evaded a possible prison term had he been convicted of the offense of malversation of public funds as filed with the Sandiganbayan.
With the approval of the prosecutors of the Office of the Ombudsman, Nandang recalled his not guilty plea on malversation and pleaded guilty to a lesser offense of failure to render accounts.
The Sandiganbayan allowed his plea bargaining and found Nandang guilty of the lesser offense for which he was ordered to pay a fine of P5,000 each in the 10 cases filed against him.
The malversation charges were filed against Nandang on his alleged failure to liquidate his P1,250,000 cash advances he used for his travel expenses in 2018.
The prosecution alleged that Nandang failed to liquidate the cash advances within 30 days from his return from his travels despite demands made by the Commission on Audit (COA) to do so.
With the approval of the prosecution, there are criminal charges that can be subject to plea bargaining or “a process of negotiation between the prosecution and defense in a criminal case whereby the accused – in return for leniency or a lighter sentence – agrees to plead guilty to a lesser offense.”
The decision on Nandang’s plea bargaining was written by Fifth Division Chairperson Rafael R. Lagos with the concurrence of Associate Justices Maria Theresa V. Mendoza-Arcega and Maryann E. Corpus-Mañalac.
With the decision, the court ordered that the P460,000 cash bond posted by Nandang be released and the hold departure order against him be lifted.