By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
Former Philippine Sports Commissioner (PSC) Eric T. Loretizo has been directed by the Sandiganbayan Second Division to pay a fine of P4.2 million after he was found guilty of 38 counts of failure to render accounts due to the unliquidated cash advances he made from 2006 to 2011.
Loretizo was initially charged with seven counts of Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code, also known as Failure of Accountable Officer to Render Account and 31 counts of Article 217 of the RPC, the Malversation of Public Funds.
The charges were in relation to the P2.8 worth of cash advances he made during his term with the PSC, which was used for the numerous trips he made in order to attend sports competitions.
On August 2, Loretizo moved that he be re-arraigned so he could enter a plea of guilty to a lesser charge. He agreed to plead guilty to his seven failures to render account charges, but he manifested that he wanted to reduce his 31 malversation charges to failure to render account charges as well.
Since the prosecution and the complainant, the PSC – represented by counsel Maribel Rodriguez – gave its consent to his plea bargain, the anti-graft court likewise agreed to it.
Considering his voluntary plea of guilty, he was sentenced to pay a fine of P2,000 for each of his 38 criminal charges or a total of P76,000. He was also ordered to pay civil liability in the amount of P4,197,444.28.
The three-page decision was written by Chairperson Oscar Herrera Jr. with the concurrence of Associate Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Lorifel Pahimna.