The Negros Occidental Provincial Prosecutor’s Office has dismissed the theft and malversation complaint filed by Isabela Mayor Irene Consunji Montilla against Engr. Carlos Malabor and his wife, Vine Malabor. Associate Prosecution Attorney II Ken Furuyama ruled the case had insufficient evidence.
The case stemmed from the delivery of 1,000 sacks of rice, which the mayor claimed the engineer had received as executive assistant for the town. She furnished a letter documenting her request for the town official to account for how the rice was distributed, which she said went ignored.
After Municipal Inspector Job Felix Guanzon denied having seen or inspected the delivery, Montilla accused Malabor’s wife, along with Perla Serrudo, both of whom worked for the municipal government, of instructing Guanzon to sign the delivery receipts.
However, according to Furuyama, “The prima facie presumption of misappropriation despite the purported demand to account for the same cannot be appreciated in this case due to the non-establishment for the presumption to arise;” or the presumption of misappropriation has no basis.
“The records are bereft of any direct evidence showing appropriation or misappropriation by the respondents of the 1,000 sacks of rice for their own or personal use,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the respondents in the case presented the prosecution with 28 receipts signed by barangay officers who received the said rice supply.
“This, in our honest opinion, sufficiently rebuts the charge that respondents misappropriated the 1,000 sacks of rice,” Furuyama affirmed.
He added, the crime of theft was not sufficiently established.
Malabor is the younger brother of former Isabela Mayor Joselito Malabor, whom Montilla defeated in the 2019 mayoral race./DGB, WDJ