Missed deadlines land ex-DTI official in jail

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    FORMER Department of Trade and Industry-Philippine Shippers Bureau (DTI-PSB) director Pedro Vicente Mendoza just can’t get any break when it comes to meeting deadlines.

    First, he missed the deadline to liquidate his cash advance which landed him in court on a malversation charge. Then he missed a court deadline to appeal his conviction which landed him straight in jail.

    In a resolution issued October 31, 2019, the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division denied Mendoza’s urgent petition for bail on the ground that his conviction last May 17, 2019 had attained finality and that he has started serving his sentence.

    “Not only is the judgment of conviction against accused Mendoza final and executory, but he had also commenced the service of his sentence. Hence, his petition for bail is not allowed and cannot be granted,” the anti-graft court said.

    Mendoza was found guilty of malversation of public funds and was meted two years, four months and one day behind bars for failure to liquidate his cash advance amounting to P929,375 which was released to him for security protocol expenses during the 39th ASEAN Economic Meeting in 2007.

    Under the rules, the accused had 20 days to submit a liquidation after the event ended on August 27, 2007 since the ASEAN meeting falls under the category of a special undertaking or activity.

    However, based on a certification from the COA, Mendoza was only cleared of his accountabilities in 2011 after paying his cash advance through deductions from his salaries, representation and transportation allowances and other benefits.

    During the promulgation of the decision against him last May 17, Mendoza and his counsel were present hence the court deemed him properly notified of the adverse ruling.

    Based on the Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan, the accused had 15 days or until June 1, 2019 to file a motion for reconsideration. But since June 1, 2019 fell on a Saturday, he was given until June 3, 2019, a Monday, to file his appeal.

    “Despite notice of the judgment of conviction, said accused only filed his Motion for Reconsideration … on 11 June 2019,” the court pointed out. “In effect, the belated filing of accused Mendoza’s Motion for Reconsideration rendered the Court’s judgment of conviction final and executory.”