Ex-Zamboanga Sibugay vice gov gets 194 years for bogus projects

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2018 04:49 PM | Updated as of Feb 07 2018 05:15 PM

MANILA- (UPDATED) Former Zamboanga Sibugay Vice Governor Eugenio Famor has been sentenced by the Sandiganbayan to 194 years in prison for non-existent projects under his Aid for the Poor program from 2001 to 2002.

Famor was found guilty of 7 counts of graft as well as 7 counts of malversation through falsification of public documents.

The court, however, noted that Famor is entitled to the “three-fold rule” which provides that the maximum duration of the sentence shall not be more than 3 times the length of time corresponding to the most severe penalty, in his case, 18 years.

Because of the three-fold rule, Famor is supposed to serve 54 years in prison, but he will only have to serve 40 years as the rule also sets a 40-year maximum sentence.

According to charges filed against Famor, he used a total of P593,500 in public funds for financial aid such as medical and burial assistance, supposedly given to beneficiaries which turned out to be fictitious.

In his defense, Famor said the poor beneficiaries did not have permanent addresses, which explains why the Commission on Audit was not able to verify if the funds actually went to them. 

"At the onset, the transactions surrounding the reimbursements are already replete with irregularities, which would lead a reasonable man to believe that indeed, these transactions were tainted with bad faith," the court said. 

The court also ordered that the cases against Daylinda Balbosa, a former provincial government employee who went at large, be archived. 

For accused Erlinda Albelda, another provincial government employee, the prosecution was ordered to verify her death, as alleged by one of the witnesses and one of the defense lawyers.