By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
The Sandiganbayan Fourth Division has dismissed the graft charge filed against former National Irrigation Administration (NIA) regional manager Julius Simbajon Maquiling after the prosecution found that the evidence against him as “lacking.”
Maquiling was accused of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act due to the reportedly anomalous purchase of fertilizers and pesticides back in 2009.
From July to September 2009, Maquiling reportedly gave unwarranted benefit to 3K and C Enterprises when he awarded the company the contract for the supply of fertilizers and pesticides in the total amount of P1,381,403.12.
The contract was awarded despite violations of R.A. 9184 or the Procurement Act, since there was no public bidding conducted. Maquiling resorted to the alternative mode of procurement, which is shopping, even though there was no justifiable reason for it. He also failed to obtain at least three price quotations from suppliers.
At the same time, Maquiling resorted to the unlawful splitting of P9,447,200 Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) into small purchases.
The prosecution filed a motion for leave to withdraw Information as well as a supplemental motion. In it, the prosecution moved to withdraw the Information on the ground that the evidence on hand was lacking to effectively prosecute the case.
In light of this, the anti-graft court granted the motion and ordered the Bureau of Immigration to lift the Hold Departure Order previously issued against Maquiling.
The order was penned by Chairperson Alex Quiroz with the concurrence of Associate Justices Reynaldo Cruz and Bayani Jacinto.