Isabela mayor faces 1-year jail term for usurpation of authority

Isabela mayor faces 1-year jail term for usurpation of authority

MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) upheld the conviction by the Sandiganbayan in 2019 on a town mayor found guilty of usurping the official functions of his vice mayor in appointing Sangguniang Bayan personnel.

In a resolution recently made available online, the SC Second Division dismissed the appeal filed by Gamu, Isabela Mayor Nestor Uy and sentenced him to up to one year and eight months in prison.

“We hold that the prosecution discharged its burden of proof and sufficiently established Uy’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt through the admitted documentary evidence and testimonies of witnesses,” the SC ruled.

“Despite the lack of official correspondence pertaining to the disapproval or rejection of the appointments, Uy admitted in court that the appointments were not compliant with the requirements of posting of notices in at least three conspicuous places nor did the appointments pass through the personnel selection board of the municipality, hence, said appointments were inefficacious and not approved. Such testimony confirms that there was indeed disapproval on his part even though no document nor action was actually taken to convey the rejection,” the tribunal added.

Uy was originally sentenced by the Sandiganbayan to up to six months in prison for preventing the hiring of four municipal employees in the vice mayor’s office in 2013.

The case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2016 arose from Uy’s refusal to approve the appointment papers of four people as legislative staff members of the Sangguniang Bayan, headed by then vice mayor Fernando Cumigad.

The four were Dante Martinez as legislative aide, clerk Jasmine Rose Martinez, and drivers Silverio Balagan and Michael Balagan.

The SC upheld the Sandiganbayan ruling that under the Local Government Code, the authority to appoint the legislative staff of the Sangguniang Bayan belongs to the vice mayor, who also serves as the council’s presiding officer. (PNA)

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