Barangay chairman convicted of graft
09 June 2017
The Office of the Ombudsman secured the conviction of Vener Collao, barangay captain of Barangay 780, Zone 85, District V, Manila, for violation of Section 3(b) of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).
In a Decision penned by Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar of Branch 19 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Collao was sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for six years. He was also perpetually disqualified from public office, and was ordered to pay P40,000.00 to private complainant, Franco Espiritu of FRCGE Trading.
During the trial, the court found that in March 2012, Collao demanded P40,000.00 from Espiritu as 30% commission from a project awarded to FRCGE for the supply of materials for barangay projects. The prosecution presented as evidence the check issued by Espiritu, representing the commission which was encashed by Collao himself. Upon receipt of the check, Collao signed a document attesting that he “acknowledged and received the amount of P40,000.00 as my share for barangay projects.”
In his defense, the accused denied the charges and maintained that his signature in the check was forged. However, the court stated that, “Collao’s denials were bereft of any corroborating and supporting evidence.”
The court explained that “the most damning evidence against the accused is the check which on its face can be concluded that the instrument was drawn from the checking account of FRCGE owned by Espiritu.”
“All told, the court considers the prosecution to have successfully overturned the presumption of innocence accorded by the law to every accused by presenting the required quantum of evidence in this case,” added the Court.
Under Section 3(b) of R.A. No. 3019, public officials are prohibited from directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the Government and any other part, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law. ###