The Sandiganbayan convicted former mayor, now vice-mayor, Allan Damas of Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur, of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

Damas was sentenced to imprisonment ranging from six years and one month as minimum to eight years as maximum with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

Records show that in July 2006, Damas appointed a certain Nellie Toledo, his first cousin, as Municipal Treasurer. Prosecutors presented a certification dated 14 July 2006, signed by Damas as recommending authority, falsely claiming that he is not related to Toledo within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity.

In the Sandiganbayan’s Decision, it was stated that “the accused recommended Toledo for the position of Municipal Treasurer of Kumalarang, and signed and issued a certification that Toledo is not related to him, as recommending authority, within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity. Without such recommendation and certification, Toledo would not have been considered, much less appointed, for the position, in view of the prohibition under Sec. 79 of R.A. No. 7160 [Local Government Code].”

Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 punishes a public officer who, in the discharge of official functions, act with manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or gross inexcusable negligence causing undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference. ###