Sandiganbayan affirms conviction of ex-Kalinga mayor, wife for extortion

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    THE Sandiganbayan Seventh Division has affirmed the conviction of former Tabuk City, Kalinga mayor Camilo T. Lammawin Jr. and his wife, Salud, on two counts each of direct bribery and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

    In a 29-page resolution dated September 11, 2019, the anti-graft court junked the defendant couple’s motion for reconsideration seeking reversal of their guilty sentence and a separate motion asking the three division justices to inhibit from the case.

    Associate Justice Georgina D. Hidalgo penned the ruling concurred in by Associate Justices Ma. Theresa Dolores C. Gomez-Estoesta and Zaldy V. Trespeses.

    The Lammawin couple was found guilty of extorting P400,000 from Rodman Construction and Development Corp. (RCDC) on July 10, 2002 and another P120,000 on October 18, 2002.

    Evidence presented during the trial showed the former mayor demanded the sum of P400,000 as a precondition to the release of P2 million representing the balance of advance payment to RCDC in July 2002.

    The contractor deposited P100,000 into the personal account of Camilo T. Lammawin Jr. at the Philippine National Bank and P300,000 into the Land Bank of the Philippines account of Salud I. Lammawin.

    Three months after, RCDC was again told to pay P120,000 in exchange for the approval of the payment of P1,732,260 balance due for another project.

    Again, the construction firm complied depositing P120,000 in the Land Bank account of the mayor’s wife.

    Bank officers both from the PNB and the Landbank confirmed during trial that the sums deposited by RCDC went into the defendant spouses’ bank accounts.

    Pronouncing the Lammawins guilty as charged, the Sandiganbayan sentenced them to six per graft case and two years and four months for each count of direct bribery or a total of 16 years and eight months with perpetual disqualification from holding any other government post.

    They were also ordered to pay fines of P1.2 million in the first bribery case and P360,000 for the second one or the combined amount of P1.56 million.

    In their appeal, the couple asked for the recall of the guilty ruling and the issuance of a new one acquitting them of criminal liability.

    They argued that the court wrongly ignored some evidence in their favor and gave no consideration to their argument that the cases should have been thrown out from the start due to inordinate delay.