Former diplomat gets 2 years jail term for false personal records
MANILA, Philippines – For providing false information in her 2005 personal data sheet (PDS) which became a factor for her promotion, former Consul-General Ma. Lourdes Ramiro-Lopez was sentenced by the Sandiganbayan to two years and 4 months imprisonment and ordered to pay a P5,000-fine.
The anti-graft court's Second Division convicted Lopez of falsification of a public document after it established she falsely claimed to have obtained an AB Broadcast Communications degree from what was then called Maryknoll College (now Miriam College) and the University of the Philippines (UP).
Former Philippine Consul General in Osaka, Japan, Lopez was dismissed from government service by the Office of the Ombudsman in March 2013 for dishonesty. The dismissal was based on the resolution that also recommended criminal indictment against her.
"Competent UP school officials" confirmed that Lopez "did not graduate and her units cross-enrolled in Miriam College (formerly Maryknoll) were not credited," the Sandiganbayan said.
Lopez had argued her actions were not motivated by wrongful intent but these were not given weight by the court which declared that such an argument was not an element of the crime of falsification of public documents.
“Good faith is a defense in falsification. Such defense should have been availed of by the accused if indeed she spoke and wrote the truth,” the Sandiganbayan said.
The Ombudsman also imposed accessory penalties on Lopez – cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.