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Ex-Mindoro rep Villarosa convicted over misuse of tobacco funds

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Former Occidental Mindoro representative Jose Villarosa has been sentenced to prison over the misuse of tobacco excise tax worth P2.92 milllion.

The Sandiganbayan 6th Division slapped the prison term totaling at least 90 years after finding him guilty of 12 counts of technical malversation.

The anti-graft court explained the prosecution was able to prove all the elements of the crime of technical malversation.

However, the court acquitted Villarosa of graft since the crime did not cause undue injury to the government.

“It does not appear that the government suffered any injury, considering that the tobacco excise tax funds were used for public purposes, albeit not in accordance with Section 8 of R.A. 8240 (National Internal Revenue Code),” the court said.

According to the law, tobacco excise tax funds should go to cooperative projects that will enhance the income and productivity of farmers, livelihood projects that would develop alternative farming system, or agro-industrial projects that will enable tobacco farmers to be involved in the management of cigarette manufacturing.

Instead, Villarosa was found to have used the funds to purchase 10 multi-cabs, mixed gravel and sand for the maintenance of barangay roads, medicine reimbursements, Christmas lights, transportation reimbursements, meals and snacks for barangay officials, rental fees of a service vehicle, and fuel and lubricants, among other things.