Sandiganbayan sends ex-DBP chair to jail for US junket

By on April 25, 2016

Sandiganbayan Building along Commonwealth, Quezon City.  (Photo courtesy of DGR Law Offices.)
Sandiganbayan Building along Commonwealth, Quezon City.
(Photo courtesy of DGR Law Offices.)

MANILA—The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has secured the conviction of former Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Chairman of the Board Vitaliano Nañagas II.

This after the Sandiganbayan found Nanagas guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of estafa and violation of Section 3(i) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”.

In a 36-page ruling written by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, the Sandiganbayan sentenced Nañagas to imprisonment of six to ten years for violating RA No. 3019; four to 12 years imprisonment for the first count of estafa and another four to 14 years for the second count of estafa.

He was also ordered to restitute the government the total amount of PHP377,040.01.

Ombudsman prosecutors successfully established that Nañagas “was able to integrate his personal business with the official travel itinerary using public funds.”

Witnesses testified that in 2004, Nañagas was on official travel to the United States of America.

The official travel included time spent on personal business from May 22-June 8, 2004.

Upon reimbursement of travel expenses, the accused incurred a total of PHP310,665.73 for personal expenses which included lingerie, underwear and jersey shorts and other personal gifts.

Nañagas also requested reimbursement of expenses worth PHP66,374.28 incurred in the Philippines even if he was on travel abroad in the United States.

The Sandiganbayan ruled that “the accused also employed deceit in his claims for reimbursement stating that the expenses were authorized, lawful, necessary and incurred in the discharge of official duties when in fact, some of his expenses were used for personal matters in the USA, and that some of the expenses were incurred in the Philippines while he was still in the USA.”

In giving credence to the prosecution, the Sandiganbayan said that “while the members of the Board and the Chairman are entitled to allowable expenses, the same should be in connection with the discharge of their duties and responsibilities as such.”