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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Sandigan fines ‘Euro general’ with P200k

A misdeed in his past was still catching up with this so-called Euro general as the Sandiganbayan slapped him with a P200,000-fine for failure to declare his funds in excess of the $10,000 limit during his trip to Russia in 2008.

The anti-graft court found former police comptroller Eliseo dela Paz guilty of violating the $10,000-rule set by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

In a decision penned by Sandiganbayan Fourth Division chairman Associate Justice Frederick Musngi, Dela Paz was ordered to pay the P200,000-fine.

The decision also stated that Dela Paz’s bail bond, which he earlier posted for temporary liberty, will only be released after he pays the P200,000- fine.

Meanwhile, Dela Paz’s wife and co-accused Maria Fe was acquitted of the same charge “due to the prosecution’s failure to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.”

Dela Paz and Maria Fe immediately left the building after the promulgation.

Dela Paz and eight other police generals were on their way back to the Philippines after attending an INTERPOL General Assembly in Russia when the former PNP comptroller was found by authorities in a Moscow airport to be carrying 105,000 euros or an estimated P7 million.

This incident earned Dela Paz and his colleagues the moniker “Euro Generals.”

Back in October 2019, the Sandiganbayan Second Division already junked the graft and technical malversation charges against Dela Paz andeight other former police officials who allegedly used P10 million of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) intelligence fund as contingency fund and travel allowance in attending the said 2008 INTERPOL conference in Russia due to lack of evidence.

In acquitting Dela Paz and others, the anti-graft court said that the prosecution’s evidence of Commission on Audit Circular 88-293, which defined confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) as “funds allotted for national defense, national security, peace and order, internal security or counter insurgency, usually involving covert or classified operations, psychological warfare and surveillance operation and other specified intelligence and confidential operations of the national government as well as government owned or controlled corporations and local governments units” does not prove that CIF does not cover the INTERPOL engagement.

In February 2020, the Sandiganbayan also acquitted former PNP officials, including Dela Paz, of the charge of prolonging performance of duty in relation to the alleged Euro generals issue in 2008.

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