Ex-university president convicted of graft for illegal Internet fees

04/15/2016 8:11 PM
Arnell Ozaeta, ABS-CBN News Southern Tagalog

BATANGAS - Former Batangas State University President Ernesto De Chavez has been convicted of graft by the Sandiganbayan over the illegal collection of Internet fees from students during his term from 2000 to 2002.

In its decision, the Sandiganbayan 2nd Division said De Chavez was found guilty of violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

De Chavez was sentenced to minimum of 6 years to maximum of 10 years imprisonment. He was also meted the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

The Sandiganbayan said De Chavez and co-accused Rolando Lontok Jr. unlawfully collected P550 from each student as school Internet fee.

Ombudsman prosecutors presented witnesses who testified that the collection of Internet fees was not sanctioned by the school board and also not supported with official receipts.

Witnesses also testified that the collected fees were deposited in the personal bank accounts of De Chavez and Lontok.

"The system of collection and disbursement of expenses designed by the accused also gave them unwarranted benefit, allowing them to spend the Internet fund [totaling close to P500,000] as they please, since it would no longer be subjected to the usual procedure of procurement and accounting required for public funds," the anti-graft court said.

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