Philpost officials get 16 years for graft and malversation

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    SEVEN former officials of the Philippine Postal Corporation (PPC or PhilPost) have been convicted of graft and malversation charges by the Sandiganbayan First Division last September 18 in connection to alleged fraudulent transactions involving P2.77 million cash from the PPC Provident Fund.

    In an 80-page decision penned by Associate Justice and division chairman Efren N. de la Cruz, the anti-graft court held former Philpost director Dely Madrona, cashier Francisca Calabio, postal service officer Alberto Gusi, clerks Rosalina Marasigan and Zacarias Paelmar, and laborers Marites Fajardo and Hubert Rellora guilty of one count of graft.

    They were each sentenced to six to ten years of imprisonment.

    The same seven accused were also convicted of malversation on allegations of having pocketed the P2.77 million issued through checks charged against the Provident Fund’s account at the Philippine Postal Bank.

    Defendants Madrona, Calabio and Gusi were each sentenced to an additional 10 to 16 years in jail while Marasigan, Paelmar, Fajardo, and Rellora were each meted two to seven years because of their minor involvement.

    Likewise, Madrona, Calabio and Gusi were fined P2,773,190; Marasigan in the sum of P529,688; Fajardo, P757,278; Paelmar P236,798; and Rellora P510,018.

    Finally, all were ordered to indemnify the PPC Provident Fund in amounts equal to the fine set by the court with interest until fully paid.

    Associate Justices Geraldine Faith A. Econg and Edgardo M. Caldona concurred.

    Prosecutors said the defendants conspired to siphon funds from the PPC Provident Fund by granting bogus loans over a span of three years from 2000 to 2003.

    Defendants themselves processed, signed, approved the applications then disposed of all paper trail so that “the vouchers prepared and all its accompanying documents will disappear from the PFO records.’

    The prosecution said the scam continued undetected for a long time because of the cooperation of all involved and the systematic destruction of incriminatory records.

    In convicting the accused, the court noted that they were able to take out loans as often as once per month in amounts exceeding what was allowed each under the rules.

    “The Court likewise finds the existence of conspiracy and the indispensable participation of accused Madrona, Calabio, Cabanilla, and Gusi with the other accused. The acts imputed against them… necessarily paved the way to further their own interests at the expense of the government,” the Sandiganbayan said.