MANILA – The Sandiganbayan has convicted a former official of a state university in Mindanao for malversation of public funds over the improper use of training expenses in 2010.
Associate Justice Zaldy Trespeses of the court’s Seventh Division, in a decision dated Oct. 1 and made public Thursday, sentenced Rex Fusingan Dapitan, former vice president for finance of the Sultan Kudarat State University (SKSU), to six years in jail and a fine of PHP50,625, which represents the total value of the amount involved, plus interest.
He was also meted with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
Dapitan had prepared a training design for Lakbay Aral of SKSU officials and employees to the Surigao del Sur State University (SSSU) to train on good practices on the operations of other state universities and colleges (SUCs).
A cash advance of PHP70,000 was requested for goods, accommodation, and other incidental expenses. Travel orders were subsequently issued for the 27 participants to the trip from Oct. 27 to 29, 2010.
The participants visited the Tandag and Cantilan campuses of SSSU. However, on October 28, the accused and the other participants went on a side trip to attend the wedding of a co-employee in Carrascal, Surigao del Sur.
They were not able to visit the SSSU College of Agriculture and Technology the next day. Of the PHP70,000 cash advance, PHP50,625 was spent while the excess of PHP19,375 was returned to the university.
State auditors ruled that since the training design was not followed, the expenses incurred were considered irregular and excessive.
They also concluded that the educational tour was only used to facilitate the attendance of the participants in the wedding of their co-employee.
The Commission on Audit issued a notice of disallowance on Nov. 9, 2011, and Dapitan was charged with malversation of public funds.
“As to the imposition of fine, it bears to reiterate that payment or reimbursement is not a defense in malversation,“ the court said, adding the law prescribes a fine equal to the amount of the funds embezzled. (PNA)