The Sandiganbayan yesterday sentenced Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr. to 10 years in prison for his involvement in a P2.5-million transaction made 21 years ago.
Aside from imprisonment, the anti-graft court disqualified Umali from holding public office and forfeited his retirement benefits.
Records showed that the transaction was made when Umali was provincial administrator.
Umali, along with former governor Rodolfo Valencia and former provincial board member Romualdo Bawasanta, were ordered to reimburse the provincial government P2.5 million.
The charges against the respondents stemmed from a loan with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), made under the name of the provincial government.
The Sandiganbayan said the respondents violated the Local Government Code when they used the money to repair, operate and maintain a boat owned by a private individual.
Valencia said they would appeal the decision.
He said that in 1993, the province was placed under a state of calamity after a series of typhoons left 149 people dead.
“Because of the gravity and urgency of the situation, the provincial government applied for a loan with the LBP,” Valencia said.
He said the money was used to repair the ship in order to reach and help people in isolated areas.
Valencia said their political rivals criticized their action and charged them in court.
The decision was handed down by a Sandigan division previously chaired by dismissed Associate Justice Gregory Ong, who along with Associate Justices Oscar Herrera and Christina Cornejo, tried the case for 20 years.
Rico Paolo Quicho, Vice President Binay’s new spokesman for political concerns, said yesterday Trillanes is again maliciously attempting to sow intrigue and sully the Vice President’s name in attacking the Home Development Mutual Fund.
Trillanes tries to influence public perception through his reckless and unfounded statements but would necessarily fail “because he has no credible proof to offer,” he said.
Quicho said Pag-Ibig has shown a good track record and performance under the leadership of the Vice President and its president Darlene Berberabe.
“Innuendos and surmises cannot be the substitute of the truth,” he said.
“It is obvious that these are being done not in aid of legislation but in aid of election,” she said.
Vice President Binay is concurrent chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
Binay said that her father was very careful in handling transactions within the Pag-Ibig Fund in light of past anomalies like the one involving Globe Asiatique.
Her father scrutinized all projects of Pag-Ibig, she added.
The latest allegations of Trillanes did not surprise her because of what she and her family had to go through last year with the Blue Ribbon subcommittee, Binay said.