2017 (Criminal Law) Bar Exam Questions: Question 5

[Answer/discuss the question below, or see 2017 bar exam Criminal Law Instructions; 2017 Criminal Law questions: 1234678910, and 11; See also 2017 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]

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To aid in the rebuilding and revival of Tacloban City and the surrounding areas that had been devastated by the strongest typhoon. to hit the country in decades, the Government and other sectors, including NGOs, banded together in the effort. Among the NGOs was Ba..,gon Waray, Inc. (BaWI), headed by Mr. Jose Ma. Gulang, its President and CEO. BaWI operated mainly as a social amelioration and charitable institution. For its activities in the typhoon-stricken parts of Leyte Province, BaWI received funds from all sources, local and foreign, including substantial amounts from legislators, local government officials and the EU. After several months, complaints were heard about the very slow distribution of relief goods and needed social services by BaWI.

The COA reported the results of its audit to the effect that at least P10 Million worth of funds coming from public sources channeled to BaWI were not yet properly accounted for. The COA demanded
reimbursement but BaWI did not respond.

Hence, Mr. Gulang was criminally charged in the Office of the Ombudsman with malversation of public funds and failure of accountable officer to render accounts as respectively defined and punished by Art. 217 and Art. 218 of the Revised Penal Code. He was also· charged with violation of Sec. 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 for causing undue injury to the Government.

In his defense, Mr. Gulang mainly contended that he could not be held liable under the various· charges because he was not a public officer:

(a) Who is a public officer? (2%)

(b) Discuss whether the crimes charged against Mr. Gulang are proper. Explain your answer. (3%)

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