Sandiganbayan acquits Pili mayor over illegally dismissed accountant’s unpaid wages

The Sandiganbayan has acquitted Pili, Camarines Sur, Mayor Tomas Bongalonta, Jr., of graft over the back wages and benefits of the municipal accountant he illegally dismissed in 2005.

In a recent 20-page decision, the court’s 7th Division said Bongalonta could not have caused undue injury to Eileen Ceron because he fully settled her claim to P955,285.06 in 2013. The late Mayor Alexis San Luis first paid part of the claim in 2007.

Although the payment of Ceron’s claim was belated, the decision penned by Associate Justice Ma. Theresa Dolores C. Gomez-Estoesta stated that “the full satisfaction of the complainant’s money claims did not result in real or actual damage.”

Bongalonta’s October 25, 2005 order dismissing Ceron was nullified by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on November 9, 2006, because she was already suspended by the Ombudsman for the exact same offense on November 9, 2004. San Luis reinstated Ceron after he began serving as mayor on July 2, 2007.

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