Sinentensyahan ng hanggang 16 na taon na pagkakakulong ng Sandiganbayan si dating Milagros, Masbate Mayor Bernardino Abapo matapos hatulang guilty sa kasong malversation of public funds.
Batay sa 29-pahinang desisyon ng 7th Division na may petsang November 29, sinabi ng anti-graft court na bigo ang dating alkalde na maipaliwanag kung bakit nanatiling unliquidated ang P26-milyong halaga ng kanyang cash advances.
Ipinunto ng Sandiganbayan sa desisyon nito ang hindi pagsasalita at pagdepensa sa sarili nang inakusahang former official.
Mahalaga raw kasi na maipaliwanag nito kung para saan at kung paano ginamit ang milyones na halaga.
“In this case, there is no doubt that accused Abapo failed to overcome this prima facie evidence of guilt. Record shows that while he was given the opportunity to personally dispute the findings of the COA (Commission on Audit), he never took the witness stand to at least explain his side. No explanation was heard from him why he was given cash advances, for what reasons these cash advances are and more importantly, how did he use them,” paliwanag ng Sandiganbayan.
Pinanigan ng korte ang salaysay ng witness na si Christie Aguas na nagsabing hindi nakumpleto ang liquidation dahil hindi naman nakarating sa Office of the Municipal Accountant ang slips at vouchers ng naturang cash advance.
“He did not even show receipts covering the expenses incurred from the cash advances made by him, if there be any. Instead, he complacently and completely relied on the testimony of his witnesses, namely Christie Aguas and Rebecca Marquez, who obviously have no personal knowledge on why these advances were extended to him, for what use and how these cash advances were spent,” dagdag ng korte.
Bukod sa sintensyang pagkakakulong, nagdesisyon din ang korte na patawan ng perpetual disqualification si Abapo, gayundin na pinababablik dito ang nabigong i-liquidate na P26-million cash advance.