NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Former Cortes mayor Apolinaria Balistoy could spend up to 48 years in prison after she was convicted by the Sandiganbayan of graft, falsification of public documents and malversation of public funds.
In a 43-page decision promulgated on December 16 but was only released by the Sandiganbayan yesterday, the anti-graft court’s Fourth Division found Balistoy guilty of falsifying her attendance in seminars so she could get reimbursements from municipal funds totaling P105,000.
Balistoy was also found guilty of 5 counts of the complex crime of malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents.
For the graft offense, Balistoy was sentenced up to 8 years in prison with the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office. The former mayor is likewise ordered to refund the Cortes municipal government the amount of P105,000 with an interest of 6% per annum until fully paid.
For the crime of falsification, Balistoy was sentenced to 4 up to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of P5,000.
Being found guilty of malversation through falsification on five counts, Balistoy is sentenced up to 30 years in prison. She is also ordered to pay a fine of P105,000 with an interest of 6% per year until the liability is fully paid.
The cases against Balistoy stemmed from her alleged receipt of P105,000 in reimbursements for the expenses she supposedly incurred when she and her son attended training sessions on local environmental governance and barangay e-agri from May to October 2010.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed the cases before the Sandiganbayan in 2017 presenting evidence that Balistoy did not attend the seminars and submitted falsified official receipts as well as falsified certificates of attendance to support her reimbursement claims.
In convicting Balistoy, the anti-graft court said the prosecution panel was able to prove that the documents she submitted were falsified.
Moreover, the Sandiganbayan added that Balistoy’s son was not entitled to attend the seminar as he is not a public official or employee.