Ex-treasurer of Laguna town gets up to 7 years in prison over missing collections

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Ex-treasurer of Laguna town gets up to 7 years in prison over missing collections

ANTI-GRAFT COURT. The Sandiganbayan in Quezon City, June 30, 2018.

Darren Langit/Rappler

The anti-graft court upholds a 2021 trial court ruling that found the former municipal treasurer of Pagsanjan, Laguna guilty of pocketing nearly P500,000

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan dismissed an appeal filed by the former municipal treasurer of Pagsanjan, Laguna who had been accused of embezzling public funds.

The anti-graft court upheld a December 2021 Regional Trial Court decision which found Elizalde Gabaleño guilty of pocketing P483,529.31, which was the amount missing from government collections.

The Sandiganbayan sentenced Gabaleño to prison for four years and nine months to seven years and four months, as well as a fine of P483,529.31.

Gabaleño had claimed that he was about to turn over the local government collections when he was robbed at gunpoint while aboard a jeepney.

He said he did not report the incident because the robbers threatened to kill him in the event he comes clean to his colleagues, and was worried that one of them was working with the unscrupulous individuals.

Gabaleño added he quit from his job in hopes that his separation pay would make up for the collections stolen from him, although the municipal government ended up withholding such funds.

The trial court, however, did not side with him, saying that since he did not report the robbery to authorities, there was insufficient evidence that would support his narrative.

When the case was brought to the Sandiganbayan, Gabaleño tried to undermine state auditors’ assertion that there was a shortage in collections.

The anti-graft court, however, said Gabaleño already confirmed he was treasurer at the time the collections were missing.

“In this case, the prosecution was able to establish and prove that accused-appellant failed to return the audited cash shortage upon demand,” the decision read. –

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