Ex-PCGG chairman guilty of trying to influence CA justice brother

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan found former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chairperson Camilo Sabio guilty of trying to pressure his brother regarding a pending case involving the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

He is facing 6 years in jail. 

In a 15-page decision dated November 29, the anti-graft court's 4th Division said Sabio violated Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act over his attempt to serve as a middleman between former Court of Appeals (CA) associate justice Jose Sabio and GSIS trustee Jesus Santos.

According to case records, Santos called the former PCGG chief in 2008 about a case filed by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) against the GSIS.

Sabio admitted that Santos asked for help with the case, which was assigned to the division chaired by Sabio's brother. He said he tried to tell his brother about "the rightness of the stand of the GSIS."

"The evidence on record confirms that accused Sabio indeed allowed himself to be persuaded and induced by Atty Santos to call Justice Sabio for the purpose of persuading the latter to favor the cause of the GSIS against Meralco," the Sandiganbayan said.

But Sabio's brother said he would vote according to his conscience. The court added that the then-CA justice, who died in April 2012, refused to be swayed. This refusal saved the former PCGG chief from a longer sentence.

"Justice Sabio did not do as his brother asked. This inaction on the part of Justice Sabio negates the presence of the second element [requiring that the offender 'persuades, induces, or influences another public official to perform an act']," the Sandiganbayan said.

The anti-graft court also said Sabio's actions violated Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for Lawyers. – Rappler.com