Criminal, administrative raps filed vs Senate exec

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    A COMPLAINT for violation of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), falsification of official documents and serious dishonesty has been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against Senate Secretary Myra Marie D. Villarica.

    The complainants, who identified themselves only as “Concerned Employees of the Senate of the Philippines,” accused Villarica of inserting false information in the Senate Journal dated December 16, 2019 (Session No. 40) pertaining to an action or activity that did not happen.

    The complainants’ counsel, the Singson and Montealto law office, formally filed the seven-page complaint affidavit with the Ombudsman’s Central Records Division on January 31, 2020.

    The Ombudsman was asked to conduct a preliminary investigation, issue an order placing Villarica under preventive suspension or removing her from her post, and to file information against her before the proper court.

    Based on the complaint, the Senate Secretary allegedly falsely declared and certified that there was a reading of the title of Senate Bill No. 1074, or the sin tax bill, for third reading but complainants said no such thing happened on the floor.

    “Atty. Villarica did not read the title of Senate Bill No. 1074 for its third reading thus, what was made to be reflected in the Senate Journal are falsified and untruthful narration of facts,” the complainants said.

    The title of Senate Bill No. 1074 reads, “An Act amending Sections 109, 141, 142, 143, 144, 147, 263, 263 (A), 265 and 288(A) of Republic Act No. 8424, as amended, otherwise known as the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended and for other purposes.”

    The complainants noted that under Article 171 of the RPC, falsification by a public officer or employee and making untruthful statement in a narration of facts is a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment and fine of up to P1 million.

    “In the falsification of public or official documents by public officers, the principal thing punished is the violation of the public faith and the destruction of truth,” they pointed out.

    Likewise, they said the respondent should be held liable for certifying the correctness of the Senate Journal despite having knowledge of the inaccuracy and the administrative offense of serious dishonesty.

    “Falsification of official document and serious dishonesty are both grave offenses punishable by dismissal from government service, even for a first offense,” the complainants added.

    Submitted together with the complaint were a CD copy of the official video of what transpired on the session floor, a copy of the Senate Journal for December 16, 2019, and an electronic document sourced from the official website of the Senate pertaining to the alleged inserted information.

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