By: Gerome Dalipe
A RETIRED judge and her former subordinate from San Jose town in Antique were ordered jailed for pocketing P87,200 of the fiduciary fund in 2004.
The Sandiganbayan found Ma. Monina Misajon, former presiding judge of the Municipal Trial Court in San Jose, Antique; and Jingkey Nolasco, former chief clerk, guilty of two counts of malversation of public funds.
“In view of the foregoing, the court finds that the prosecution has proven beyond a reasonable doubt all the elements of the crime of malversation, defined and punished under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code. The conviction of both accused is, thus, warranted,” read the decision of the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), which accused Misajon and Nolasco of conspiring to pocket the fiduciary fund totaling P87,800.
The respondents reportedly connived to over withdraw the cash bail bonds and did the withdrawals without supporting documents.
The misappropriated fund was discovered after Nolasco failed to turn-over the original copies of financial records of the trial court to Arlyn Minguez-Medina, the court interpreter and financial custodian.
State auditors conducted post-audit and cash examination on the cash and accounts of Municipal Trial Court in San Jose, Antique for the period May 21, 2001, to Feb. 7, 2005.
The auditors discovered that Nolasco and Misajon were the authorized signatories for the court’s Landbank savings account.
In its decision dated March 4, 2009, the Supreme Court found Nolasco guilty of gross dishonesty and grave misconduct, thus, she was dismissed from the service.
The High Court also ordered Nolasco and Misajon to jointly pay the missing P87,800.
Replying to the charges, Misajon denied accusations that she conspired with Nolasco in over-withdrawal from the Fiduciary Fund on June 11, 2004.
She also denied charges that she borrowed the excess amount for her trip to Davao City for the cremation, wake, and burial of her sister.
Likewise, Misajon said she served the judiciary “faithfully and with all honesty and integrity” and that she had not enriched herself while in office as evidence of her simple lifestyle.
For her part, Nolasco offered to enter a guilty plea based on the supposed pocketed public funds of P40,000.
In the decision, the Sandiganbayan ruled that Misajon and Nolasco are guilty of two counts of malversation of public funds penalized under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.
“Undoubtedly, accused Misajon displayed gross negligence in the discharge of her duties, which is a flagrant violation of her oath as a holder of public office,” the decision read.
The anti-graft court sentenced Misajon of up to six years and six months in jail. She was also ordered to pay a fine of P87,800 and barred her from working again in government.
On the other hand, the Sandiganbayan ordered Nolasco jailed of up to 16 years for two counts of malversation of public funds.
She was also ordered to pay P87,800 as fine and was prohibited from employment in public office.