June 14, 2024

The Sandiganbayan sentenced a former employee of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) to up to eight years in prison for his involvement in the irregular disbursement of checks to his uncle and deceased and fictitious beneficiaries.

Leomar Basuel was also ordered by the anti-graft court’s Fourth Division to pay P474,259 in a decision promulgated on April 27 and published online on May 6.

Also affirmed was the Quezon City court’s sentence of disqualification from public office.

The Sandiganbayan affirmed the decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 88 against Basuel who, in 1995, took part in encoding and printing pension checks without any legal basis or authority when he was still with the PVAO’s Management Information System Group.

He claimed he made the supplementary checks without any memorandum order because he wanted to help an uncle.

However, aside from his uncle, the investigation showed that Basuel also processed checks for recipients who were already deceased or fictitious.

The Court said Basuel “encoded the entries with a furtive design and not by mistake as he deliberately failed to observe the regular internal procedure” of his office and “encoded such entries knowing that some of the pensioners were already deceased and that he even made fictitious names as payees in the subject checks”.

“His acts were tantamount to evident bad faith as he orchestrated a wrongdoing with a fraudulent intent,” it added.

Out of the 30 counts of violation of the Anti-Graft Law, the Court affirmed Basuel’s conviction in 12 and cleared the other 18 as there was no proof that they were actually encashed or negotiated by the payees. – PNA