Former Catanduanes execs convicted of fraud

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    FORMER Catanduanes Governor Leandro Verceles Jr. and five co-accused were convicted by the Sandiganbayan of fraud against public treasury after they pleaded guilty rather than face a full-blown trial for violation of RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

    In a decision promulgated last February 19, the Second Division ordered the defendants to pay fines of P5,000 each and P1.749 million in civil liability to the provincial government.

    Also found guilty of a lesser offense were provincial engineer Rodolfo Maliñana, assistant provincial assessor Abelardo Abundo Jr., engineer 3 Hilda Arcilla, provincial budget officer Ireneo del Rosario, provincial agriculturist Herbert Evangelista Sr., and provincial treasurer Julietta Tassara.

    It was the second time in four months that Verceles has been convicted for the same lesser offense after opting to plea bargain rather than stand trial.