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MANILA, Philippines – A revenue collector is facing imprisonment for using public funds to pay for his wife’s hospital bills and support other relatives.
The Sandiganbayan affirmed the conviction of Joseph Pattawi, a municipal revenue collector of Santa Ignacia, Tarlac, where he faces up to six years of imprisonment over a malversation charge and failing to turn in the town’s revenue collection amounting to over P343,000 a decade ago. He was fined the same amount with 6% interest from finality of the decision.
In 2013, the Commission on Audit found that Pattawi, who was a collector under the Municipal Treasurer’s Office from 2007 to 2013, did not turn over the amount. He acknowledged the shortage.
In his letter to the audit team, Pattawi admitted to using the funds for personal reasons and said he was selling assets to pay off the shortage.
A separate letter to the Mayor’s office indicated that he had made a partial payment of P5,000.
A criminal charge was filed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman in February 2018 for malversation of public funds.
While he admitted to misusing public funds, he asserted in his letter to the audit team that he was wrongly convicted since witnesses called by the prosecution to testify against him had no personal knowledge of the matter, supposedly making their testimony hearsay.
The Sandiganbayan, however, pointed out that Pattawi signed off on the audit report, effectively admitting to the crime and bolstering the prosecution’s case. – Rappler.com