MANILA — A P250 fine for a P65,000 misdeed.
The Sandiganbayan has ordered a former aviation executive to pay a P250 penalty for loading his private van with P65,000 worth of gasoline using public funds during his time in the agency.
The anti-graft court also ordered former Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) chief finance officer Abner Bondoc to give back to government the amount spent on his gas expenses, in accordance with a plea bargain agreement.
Bondoc pleaded guilty to the crime of failure to render accounts after using the agency's funds to gas up. He was accused of causing undue injury to government as his personal vehicle, a Nissan Vanette, was not covered by a certification for gas allocation.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires approved a plea bargaining agreement after Bondoc admitted to the crime.
The anti-graft court's 4th Division noted that the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure allowed plea bargaining for a lesser offense.
“Pursuant to the above provision, the parties are authorized to enter into plea bargaining during arraignment. Thus, the motions of the accused to plead guilty to a lesser offense are granted,” the court said in a decision dated Sept. 13, 2019 and released just recently.
The Office of the Ombudsman, during the term of Martires' predecessor Conchita Carpio Morales, initially charged Bondoc with one count of graft, which has a minimum penalty of 6-year imprisonment.
The Sandiganbayan noted that under the Revised Penal Code, the crime of Failure of Accountable Officer to Render Accounts is punishable by prision correccional or a P200 to P6,000 fine, or both.
The court lifted the hold departure order against Bondoc and ordered his cash bond to be released after payment of the fine and indemnity.
Sandiganbayan 4th Division Chairperson Alex Quiroz penned the decision, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Bayani Jacinto and Ronald Moreno.