Manila – The Sandiganbayan had convicted for the second time former Zamboanga Sibugay Vice Governor Eugenio Famor over charges of illegal hiring of a provincial employee.
In a decision penned by Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna concurred by 2nd Division chair Oscar Herrera Jr. and Associate Justice Michael Frederick Musngi, the Sandiganbayan had also convicted Famor’s co-accused Sangguniang Panlalawigan Secretary Nicasio Pena and private secretary Camacho Chiong.
The decision, promulgated March 29, sentenced the three accused to six years and one month to a maximum of eight years in prison. The three, ordered to pay back P161, 563.30 to the provincial government, were also barred perpetually from holding public office.
The case stemmed from an instant when Camacho Chiong was appointed provincial board secretary, salary grade 22, which had bypassed some processes needed for the appointment. Pena had recommended the appointment of Camacho.
Chiong’s appointment did not pass through the required processes of the Personnel Selection Board (PSB), the Provincial Human Resource Management Office (HRMO), and the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
The Sandiganbayan said that “Pena in recommending Chiong and Famor in appointing Chiong both acted in evident faith thereby giving unwarranted benefit and advantage to Chiong.”
Court records showed that Chiong, an undergraduate, did not meet the requirements for the position: a college degree, three years of relevant experience, and a Career Service Professional second level eligibility.
In defending himself, the former vice governor said claimed he was not aware of required qualifications for the position where Chiong was appointed.
Famor further claimed that he was thinking at the time his signature served as an endorsement only that needed to be validated.
The anti-graft court, however, rebuked Famor saying he “cannot hide behind the cloak of ignorance.”
“On the contrary, the attendant circumstances in this case gives the impression that Famor and Peña purposely chose to ignore the long-established rules and regulations on appointment in the civil service.”
The court said all the elements of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, “were, without doubt, proved in this case and conspiracy having been established, a moral certainty is achieved to find the 3 accused criminally liable.”
This conviction was Famor’s second after the anti-graft court sentenced him from 120 to 194 years on February 2, 2018 for graft and malversation charges by falsifying public documents.
The 2018 conviction held Famor liable for pocketing public funds from the government’s Aid to the Poor Program amounting to P593,500. (Antonio M. Manaytay-Mindanao Sun)