Gov. Alfonso Umali (center) with Pres. Benigno Aquino III. Malacanang photo
Gov. Alfonso Umali (center) with Pres. Benigno Aquino III. Malacanang photo

MANILA, Philippines-The Sandiganbayan has sentenced Mindoro Oriental Governor Alfonso Umali Jr. and two others for six to 10 years in jail and ordered to pay P2.5-million in damages after they were found guilty of violating the anti-graft and corrupt practices act.

Umali, the treasurer of Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s ruling Liberal Party and current president of the League of Provinces of the Philippines, was joined by former Mindoro Oriental Gov. Rodolfo Valencia and board member Romualdo Bawasanta.

In a 37-page decision written by Justice Jose Hernandez, it said the accused “defrauded” the government.

The case stemmed from P2.5-million worth of anomalous loan transaction approved by Valencia and Umali in January 1994 to Alfredo Atienza for the repair, operation and maintenance of a privately owned ship.

The two were then governor and provincial administrator, respectively.

“This prohibition against the use of public funds for private purposes, aside from it being dictated by law upon the accused, was at the same time reiterated to them in categorical terms by the provincial treasurer and the auditor.

“Yet with manifest partiality in favor of Atienza and evident bad faith, accused chose to ignore their legal limitation,” said the anti-graft court’s Fourth Division.

In 2008, Valencia and Umali were sentenced for the same crime, yet they made an appeal to the court.