Ex-mayor in Camiguin faces jail time over brother's benefits

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan found Alex Jajalla, former mayor of Mahinog, Camiguin, guilty of graft for giving "unwarranted benefits" to his brother at the expense of the local government in 2008.

In its ruling, the anti-graft court's 7th Division sentenced Jajalla to at least 6 years in jail.

Back in 2008, the then-mayor had granted 6 months of rehabilitation leave with pay to his brother, Misael Jajalla, who got injured in a motorcycle accident while supposedly on government duty as a security officer.

Misael was allowed to go on leave from July to December 2008, and received a total of around P69,336 in salaries for the period.

But contrary to the former mayor's claim that his brother was en route to serve as an advance party for him, evidence showed that Misael was with his family on their way to church when they collided with another motorcycle.

"If Misael was supposed to perform an official function providing security to accused, why did he bring along his wife and two daughters there?" the court said.

The approval of Misael's leave with pay thus showed "gross inexcusable negligence," said the Sandiganbayan.

"The prosecution was able to show that accused simply approved Misael's application for rehabilitation leave without regard to its propriety under the rule," added the court. – Rappler.com