Ex-mayor faces jail time for declaring 'wrong' wife in SALNs
MANILA, Philippines – The wife of former mayor Arnelito Garing left him more than two decades ago. As if that weren't bad enough, he's going to land in jail for not declaring her as his wife in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
Garing, an ex-mayor of Cabucgayan, Biliran, has been sentenced to 16 months in jail by the Sandiganbayan 5th Division.
The anti-graft court found Garing guilty of two counts of perjury for misdeclaring the name of his spouse in his 2000 and 2001 SALNs.
But this is neither a case of womanizing nor a case of amnesia. It's simply a sad love story, if the former mayor is to be believed.
During the trial, Garing explained that he and Generosa Dosal got married in April 1993, but she left him in September 1994. He later placed his partner Maurilina Oledan as his spouse in his SALNs, though they weren't legally married.
The former mayor claimed he searched for Dosal across the country when she left him, but found no answers.
From reaching out to her friends and relatives in Tacloban City, he went on to search for her elsewhere in Eastern Visayas. When he got no clues, he expanded the search to Luzon in 1996, exploring Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, and Zambales.
He went back to Tacloban City in 1997 and then to Cebu in 1998 to continue looking. He even tapped the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to help him, but the search was fruitless.
Garing eventually met Oledan and they started a family.
He said he thought of filing a petition to declare Dosal legally dead after learning about this when he was studying law in 2004.
But the Sandiganbayan did not buy it. The anti-graft court said it is "implausible" for a public official "tasked with the implementation of the laws of the land" to believe that "he could substitute the name of Maurilina in the place of his legal wife Generosa, whom he admitted he married and cohabited with, albeit briefly."
The Sandiganbayan also noted that Garing's petition to declare Dosal legally dead came as he was facing perjury charges.
"The close proximity of the filing of the complaint and his filing of the petition leads to the obvious conclusion that the complaint alerted him to his criminal liability," the court said. – Rappler.com