Ex-Iloilo mayor gets jail time for graft, fund misuse

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The Sandiganbayan found former Tigbauan mayor Myrna Torres of Iloilo province guilty of malversation of public funds and the anti-graft law.

Also facing a jail term of up to 12 years for misappropriating P250,000 in public funds in 2002 was former municipal treasurer Manuel Tabalada Jr.

“In the case at bar, the undue injury caused to the government is manifest from the fact that the Municipality of Tigbauan was not able to benefit from the P250,000 financial assistance intended for their socio-economic projects,” the decision read. (

Their case stemmed from the complaints filed by the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas for violation of Sec. 3, paragraph (e) of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and malversation of public funds, defined and penalized in Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.

State auditors discovered the fund misuse when they audited the municipality’s spending of P250,000 financial assistance sourced from the Presidential Social Fund.

In the decision, the anti-graft court said Torres and Tabalada “ineluctably acted in evident bad faith when they did not follow the usual manner of remittance of the money to the local treasury.”

“Tabalada’s giving of the cash equivalent of the check from his collection, pursuant to the conveyed instruction of Torres, can only be seen as a conscious doing of a wrong,” its ruling stated.