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.