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Ex-Dinagat mayor faces three years of imprisonment for perjury

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The Sandiganbayan anti-graft court has found former Mayor Gwendolyn B. Ecleo of Dinagat in Dinagat Islands province guilty for three counts of perjury for her failure to file complete and truthful statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs).

The Fourth Division of the anti-graft court, in its decision promulgated on November 29, has sentenced Ecleo to suffer one year of prision correccional for each count of perjury cases.

“As former municipal mayor, hence a public officer, at the times material to these cases, Ecleo is required by law to submit her sworn SALNs,” the Sandiganbayan said.

It said the prosecution has “successfully proven beyond reasonable doubt” that all the elements of perjury were present in the former mayor’s three cases of perjury.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed three counts of perjury under Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code against Ecleo for her alleged failure to declare under oath the motorcycles that she purchased in different dates in 2006 in her SALNs for the years 2006, 2007 and 2010.

Ecleo, in her defense, averred that her former husband, Baltazar Robert B. Durano, using her name without her knowledge and consent, was the one who bought the motorcycles.

“To the mind of the Court, the inclusion of Durano as the buyer of the motorcycles in the certification…on 29 May 2017 is a mere afterthought on the part of Ecleo so that she can feign ignorance of the ownership of the motorcycles,” the Sandiganbayan said.

It noted that in the first certification issued in March 2016 by the owner of the company where she bought the motorcycles, Durano’s name was not mentioned.

“Instead, it points to Ecleo as the actual buyer of the motorcycles,” the anti-graft court said.

It also said that not only the certificates of registration of the vehicles were in her name as the owner, but their official receipts as well for the years 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2011 were still in her name.

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