Occidental Mindoro

Sandiganbayan convicts ex-Mamburao mayor over failure to remit contributions


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Sandiganbayan convicts ex-Mamburao mayor over failure to remit contributions

PHILIPPINES' ANTI-GRAFT COURT. The facade of Sandiganbayan in Quezon City.

Jansen Romero/Rappler

Former Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro mayor Voltaire Anthony Villarosa gets a jail sentence of up to four years, and is banned from holding public office

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan found the former mayor of Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro guilty of violating the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Law, after the local government unit (LGU) under his watch failed to remit municipal employees’ contributions and loan payments amounting to millions of pesos.

Based on the 46-page decision of the Sandiganbayan’s 6th Division dated June 10, former mayor Voltaire Anthony Villarosa is sentenced to two to four years in prison, ordered to pay a fine of P10,000, and disqualified from holding public office following the conviction.

Villarosa’s successor, Mayor Angeline Tria, initiated the cases against her predecessor after the municipal government received demand letters from the Batangas branch of GSIS, asking the LGU to remit the compulsory premium contribution of employees worth P4.81 million.

The amount covers the period September 2015 to May 2016.

Villarosa had denied wrongdoing and said that his subordinates took the lead in remitting GSIS contributions, but the anti-graft court asserted that the former mayor had command responsibility.

“Villarosa showed no competent evidence that he diligently followed up on the status of the outstanding liabilities of the LGU of Mamburao. In fact, he admitted that he was remiss in his duty to follow up with his municipal administrators,” the ruling read.

State auditors once flagged the LGU’s failure to remit mandatory deductions from government employees for their health and social benefits. The shortcoming was only settled in 2018 and 2019, when Tria was already in-charge of municipal hall.

The Sandiganbayan, however, said there was insufficient evidence to convict Villarosa of two other criminal charges in relation to violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the 1997 National Internal Revenue Code.

Villarosa is the son of the late former governor Jose Villarosa and late deputy House speaker Ma. Amelita Villarosa. – Rappler.com

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