Secretary De Lima hails conviction of a rural bank president for falsification of documents, violation of banking laws

10 July 2015

Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima lauded the Department of Justice – National Prosecution Service (DOJ-NPS) for securing the conviction of a president of a Rural Bank in Manaoag, Pangasinan charged for making untruthful statements in various public and commercial documents to conceal the actual financial conditions of the bank.

In a six-page Consolidated Decision, the Manaoag, Pangasinan Municipal Trial Court found Ma. Cecilia Acuña, then President/General Manager of Kaunlaran Rural Bank, Inc. (KRBI), guilty beyond reasonable doubt for 49 counts of Falsification of Public Documents (Article 172 [1] in relation to Article 171 [4] of the Revised Penal Code).

Presiding Judge Giovanni Palma meted the penalty of   imprisonment from two years, four months and one day of prision correccional as minimum to four years, two months and one day of prision correccional as maximum, and to pay a fine of P5,000 for each count against the accused.

In the Informations filed by the DOJ through Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Lagrimas Agaran, Acuña was accused of falsifying several public and commercial documents to make it appear that 43 individuals obtained a loan from the bank in amounts ranging from P450,000 to P1.5M “when in truth and in fact the aforesaid individuals did not obtain or apply for a loan or participate in the preparation of the documents.”

Six other Informations alleged that Acuña made untruthful statements in KRBI’s Consolidated Statement of Condition (CSOC), as of March 31, April 30, May 31, June 30, July 31, and August 31, 2009 by creating loan accounts with fictitious persons as borrowers “to make KRBI appear solvent.”

The CSOC is a periodic financial report submitted by banks to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Judge Palma also found Acuña guilty beyond reasonable doubt for six counts of Violation of Section 35 of Republic Act (RA) No. 7653 (The New Central Bank Act) and sentenced her to four years imprisonment for each count.

In separate Informations, the Urdaneta City, Pangasinan Regional Trial Court Branch 48 found Acuña guilty beyond reasonable doubt for 49 counts of Violation of Sec. 55.1 (a) of RA 8791 (The General Banking Act of 2000) in relation to Section 36 of RA 7653 for the same offenses.

Presiding Judge Gonzalo Marata sentenced the accused to two years imprisonment for each count.

 Acuña entered a plea of guilty to all cases. “It is settled that a plea of guilty not merely joins the issues of the complaint or information, but amounts to an admission of guilt and of the material facts alleged in the complaint or information,” Judge Palma said.

De Lima commended Agaran for successfully prosecuting the cases. “This demonstrates our firm resolve to go after  those attempting to circumvent the law to the prejudice of government financial institutions and the general public as well,” De Lima stressed.

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