By Czarina Nicole Ong
The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has convicted former Talitay, Maguindanao Mayor Montasir Sabal over his statement of assets liabilities and net worth (SALN) violations for 2011, 2013, and 2014.
Sabal was initially charged with three counts of Section 7 of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and three counts of Section 8 of R.A. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and three counts of Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code, also known as perjury.
These were all in relation to his anomalous SALNs for 2011, 2013 and 2014, wherein Sabal failed to disclose his ownership of his residential house situated in Lot 22, Block 19, Robinson Highlands, Buhangin in Davao City, as well as three other residential lots and a parcel of land located at Barrio Biniruan, Cotabato City.
Sabal was arraigned on May 30, 2018, and he entered a not guilty plea. Sabal subsequently entered into a plea bargaining agreement with the prosecution, which the anti-graft court approved on October 11, 2018.
In its resolution, the court allowed the prosecution to withdraw its perjury charges. On January 10, 2019, Sabal also withdrew his not guilty plea and changed it to guilty.
As a result, he was convicted of three counts of graft and three breach of conduct charges. He was sentenced to pay a total fine of P30,000.
The nine-page resolution was penned by Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez with the concurrence of Associate Justices Karl Miranda and Bernelito Fernandez.