MANILA — The Supreme Court has upheld the graft conviction of former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chair Camilo Sabio for the lease of vehicles without public bidding.
The Sandiganbayan in 2012 sentenced Sabio to 12 to 20 years in prison over the P12.66-million rental of 11 vehicles in 2007 and 2009, some of which he and several other PCGG officials used.
Sabio "cannot claim immunity from suit for being an alter ego of the President," read the SC ruling promulgated last July 15.
"It will be ridiculous to hold that alter egos of the President are, likewise, immune from suit simply because their acts are considered acts of the President if not repudiated... The rule is that unlawful acts of public officials are not acts of the State and the officer who acts illegally is not acting as such but stands in the same footing as any other trespasser," it added.
The High Court also held that there was bad faith on Sabio’s part in entering into the lease agreements without "undertaking the required procurement process, and subjecting government funds to unnecessary expenditure without pre-allocation and the necessity for the same."
Sabio was also a member of the board of United Coconut Planters Bank, the parent company of UCPB Leasing, when the lease agreements were entered into, thus giving unwarranted benefit and advantage in favor of the firm, said SC.
"As correctly ruled by the Sandiganbayan, Sabio’s acts unmistakably reflect ‘a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong; a breach of sworn duty through some motive or intent or ill will," the court rules.
PCGG is the agency tasked with recovering the billions of dollars allegedly plundered by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' family and allies.