THE Sandiganbayan has convicted to 18 years of imprisonment a former Nueva Vizcaya municipal mayor for his failure to account public funds amounting to P4.3-million disbursed as cash advances from 1993 to 2001.
Based on the information provided by the Office of the Ombudsman, convicted was former Villaverde Mayor Rodrigo Tabita Sr. after he was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of malversation.
Ombudsman prosecutors presented 87 vouchers to prove that Tabita received the amounts released by the municipality to pay for various expenses such as travel expenses, school supplies, repair expenses, and expenses for various projects.
For his defense, Tabita claimed that “he kept on signing blank forms because that was the usual practice at the time he was mayor.”
In its decision, the Sandiganbayan stated that “Tabita’s explanation was inadequate and self-serving for lack of corroboration, either documentary or testimonial.”
Aside from imprisonment, the accused was also meted the accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification and to pay a fine of P4,372,595.73.