The seat in the Corella Sangguniang Bayan (SB) left vacant by Councilor Vito Rapal remains unoccupied over four months after he went on leave and his conviction for graft and estafa was affirmed by the Supreme Court (SC).
Rapal who was sentenced to up to 22 years in prison and was perpetually disqualified from holding public office is still at large.
According to Vice Mayor Danilo Bandala, they merely continued to mark Rapal absent during the SB’s sessions.
He said they have not received any directive from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) indicating Rapal’s removal from office or the process for his replacement.
“Wa mi maghisgot ana kay until now wa man jud miy formally makadawat og order gikan sa Supreme Court ba or sa DILG. Lisod man og mo aksyon ta og wa tay basehan. So sa karon, absent lang siya [Rapal] kapunay,” said Bandala.
According to Madonio Roxas of DILG Bohol, a complaint should be filed against Rapal for his continued absence pending the formal declaration of the councilor’s removal from office.
“Function na sa Sanggunian to discipline its own members. Pananglitan, kung mo absent for four consecutive session, mahimo nilang e-suspend,” said Roxas.
In 2019, Rapal, who was also a mayor of Corella, was convicted of four out of six of his criminal charges filed against him due to mishandling of public funds.
The SC upheld the Rapal’s conviction in a decision promulgated August last year, affirming gus guilt for unliquidated cash advances and for pocketing money intended for tarsier preservation.
Rapal was found guilty of two counts of violation against Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or RA 3019.
He was also convicted of Estafa and Failure of Accountable Officer to Render Accounts under Article 315 and Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code, respectively.
On top of his prison sentence, Rapal was also ordered to pay the Corella local government unit over P1 million and over P92,000 which were equivalent to the amounts involved in the cases.
The cases against Rapal stemmed from incidents which occurred during his incumbency as mayor of Corella. (AD)