MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan has sentenced a former town mayor of Zambales to 80 years in jail after he was found guilty of engaging in two ghost projects in 1996.
Teofilo Pantaleon of the municipality of Castillejos was meted 40 years jail term for both and was ordered to pay P201,706.75 which represents the amount of public funds lost.
In a 21-page decision penned by Associate Justice Rodolfo Ponferrada, the anti-graft court said lawyers of the Office of the Ombudsman were able to prove the crime of malversation thru falsification of public documents.
Pantaleon was liksewise slapped with the accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification from holding public office.
The charges stemmed from how he, as mayor of Castillejos allegedly entered into two ghost projects for a road repair and a market construction 15 years ago.
The local chief executive was accused of misappropriating public funds by forging documents with a total amount of P201,706.75 in favor of the private firm La Paz Construction.
However, it was discovered that the transactions were fictitious for both the repair of the drainage system and market stalls of the Castillejos public market and the improvement of roads in Barangays Casagatan-Looc, Nagbayan-Macupit and San Agustin proper-Mandamquez.
Tiu Ken Suan, the owner of the construction company, testified that he did not enter into such contracts with the local government nor had received any payment.
Witnesses presented by the Ombudsman’s prosecution team led by Assistant Special Prosecutor III Julieta Zinnia Niduaza testified that there were no road repair projects in the places mentioned in the contract. – Michael Punongbayan | http://www.philstar.com