The Sandiganbayan has affirmed its decision that convicted the former cashier of the Alcala Water District (AWD) in Pangasinan, imposed a stiffer fine, and ordered the payment of civil liability for malversation of public funds.
Affirmed was the conviction of Darwin C. Viloria whose motion for reconsideration was denied by the anti-graft court’s sixth division in a resolution written by Division Chairperson Sarah Jane T. Fernandez with the concurrence of Associate Justices Karl B. Miranda and Kevin Narce B. Vivero.
The regional trial court (RTC) found Viloria guilty of malversation when he converted to his personal use P163,436.53 in AWD funds from 2000 to 2006. He was sentenced to a jail term ranging from four to seven years and was ordered to a pay a fine of P55,886.10.
Viloria appealed the RTC’s decision with the Sandiganbayan. He claimed the RTC “gravely erred” in finding him guilty despite lack of proper formal demand and prima facie evidence of missing funds.
The Sandiganbayan turned down his appeal. “The Court finds no reversible error in the RTC’s Decision dated Aug. 10, 2018. However, the fine imposed by the RTC must be modified, and accused-appellant’s civil liability must be determined,” the court ruled.
As cashier, the anti-graft court said Viloria had custody and control of the said funds from 2000 to 2006. He “put the subject funds to his personal use because he failed to provide a justifiable explanation for the missing funds,” the court said.
The total malversed amount was P221,935.98, but P66,696.85 was already restituted by other AWD employees. Viloria wrote a promissory note saying he will pay back the remaining P155,239.13, so the court said that is the amount he should pay the AWD as his civil liability.
On top of the jail sentence and as modified, the dispositive portion of the Sandiganbayan’s decision stated:
“He (Viloria) shall pay a fine in the amount of the malversed funds, as alleged in the information (criminal charge sheet), or One Hundred Sixty-Three Thousand Four Hundred Thirty-Six Pesos and Fifty-Three Centavos (P163,436.53).
“He shall further pay Alcala Water District the amount of One Hundred Fifty-Five Thousand Two Hundred Thirty-Nine Pesos and Thirteen Centavos (P155,239.13) plus interest of 6% per annum to be reckoned from the date of finality of this Decision until full payment by way of civil liability.”
In his motion to reconsider the decision, Viloria told the Sandiganbayan that the shortage of funds attributed to him was not indubitably established because the audit was “incomplete, irregular, and inaccurate, and did not follow standard auditing procedures.”
However, the court found his motion bereft of merit. “There is nothing in accused-appellant’s motion for reconsideration that would warrant the reversal of the assailed decision,” the resolution stated.