A FORMER ranking official of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has pleaded guilty to a lesser offense rather than face trial for graft before the Sandiganbayan for trying to get the government to foot his gas bill.
The anti-graft court’s Fourth Division convicted Abner B. Bondoc, former chief financial officer of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), of failure of accountable officer to render accounts, based on his plea bargain deal with the Office of the Ombudsman.
Bondoc was indicted for violation of RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act after he was found to have charged his gas expenses on his private car against the CAAP.
Based on penalties set under the Revised Penal Code, Bondoc was fined P250 for his crime although the court required him to fully refund the CAAP for the fuel cost.
It also ordered the release of his P30,000 cash bond and the lifting of the hold departure order against him.
Prosecutors said for 16 months from April 2011 to August 2012, Bondoc loaded up gasoline for his Nissan Vanette using agency funds totaling P65,972.13.
They noted that the vehicle does not belong in the official fleet of the CAAP and was not issued a gas allocation under the agency’s budget.
A graft case was filed against him on January 25, 2019 and in a resolution dated February 1, 2019, the Sandiganbayan found probable cause to issue an arrest warrant against the defendant.
In his ex-parte motion for plea bargaining filed on May 2, 2019, Bondoc expressed his intention to plead guilty to a lesser offense and to pay the CAAP the full amount of the fuel cost.
With the approval of Ombudsman Samuel Martires, the prosecution notified the Sandiganbayan that it has reached an agreement with the defendant subject to the restitution of the P65,972.13.
“Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Abner Bautista Bondoc guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Failure of Accountable Officer to render Accounts,” the court declared.