Apr 24, 2021 @ 11:11

Iloilo mayor loses bid to pay just half of P700K fine over failure to remit employee contributions

The Sandiganbayan has denied the plea of San Enrique, Iloilo, Mayor Rosario Mediatrix Fernandez to pay only half of the P700,000 fine imposed on her and municipal treasurer Imelda Mecisamente Celebrar as their solidary liability for their failure to remit the contributions of municipal government employees.

In a recent resolution, the court’s 2nd Division rejected Fernandez’s argument that she should only be liable for her share of the fine and not be responsible anymore for Celebrar’s because the latter finished her probation on January 22, 2020.

The court stressed that “the discharge from probation of accused Celebrar does not change the situation,” because there was “no civil action to enforce a civil obligation” in this case.

It reminded Fernandez that the solidary liability was imposed as penalty for criminal violations of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Act of 1995, the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) Law of 2009.

To recall, Fernandez and Celebrar on March 1, 2018 pleaded guilty to 16 counts of violation of the GSIS Act and 11 counts of violation of the HDMF Law for failing to remit some P5.96 million in employee contributions from 2011 to 2012. However, only Celebrar applied for probation.

“Accused Celebrar dealt with penalties by applying for and undergoing probation. That will not absolve accused Fernandez from paying the fines fixed by the Court and imposed as penalties in these cases,” read the resolution penned by Associate Justice Oscar C. Herrera Jr. #

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