MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has ordered the arrest of former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chairman Camilo Sabio so he could serve his sentence for a graft conviction in 2019.
“Let a warrant of arrest be issued against the said accused and the post-promulgation bond he posted be cancelled,” said the Sandiganbayan 4th Division in a decision dated January 27, but released only to media on Monday, March 9.
This is for a conviction in 2019 of graft for trying to influence his brother, the late former Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Jose Sabio, to favor a Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) official who called for his help.
Sabio appealed his conviction. Because graft is a bailable case, he was allowed to post bail after his conviction pending appeal.
But in the decision of the 4th Division, the court denied Sabio’s appeal, saying there is no violation of double jeopardy.
No double jeopardy
Sabio was charged of graft for two things:
- For entertaining the call of GSIS Board of Trustees member Jesus Santos, and therefore allowing himself to be influenced, so he could help the GSIS in a case by Meralco
- For trying to influence his brother, Justice Jose Sabio
In November 2019, the Sandiganbayan acquitted Sabio for the 2nd graft charge because one element of the crime is that the respondent must have influenced another to perform an unlawful act.
However, Justice Sabio’s decisions were not in favor of GSIS, which led the court to say the magistrate was not influenced and therefore the element was not present.
Sabio was instead convicted of the 1st graft charge.
Sabio said in his appeal that he cannot be acquitted in one charge and convicted of another, because it violates double jeopardy.
The court said there is double jeopardy when the charges follow each other. In this case, the charges were filed and tried together.
“The first element of double jeopardy is clearly absent because the 2 counts of violation of RA No. 3019 against the herein accused were filed and decided jointly, not subsequently, by the Court. Hence the acquittal of the accused in (one case) does not preclude his conviction (in another case) on the ground of double jeopardy,” said the 4th Division in a decision penned by the late justice Reynaldo Cruz, with concurrences from Justices Alex Quiroz and Bayani Jacinto.
Sabio was convicted in 2017 and sentenced to 6-12 years over anomalous vehicle leases in the PCGG.
In 2016, the Sandiganbayan acquitted him of graft and malversation involving P12 million in alleged kickbacks from the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family. – Rappler.com