By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
The Sandiganbayan Seventh Division has affirmed its decision to convict officials of Tambulig town in Zamboanga del Sur of graft in connection with the irregular purchase of a vehicle in 2012.
Budget Officer Gloria Bation and bids and awards committee (BAC) members Alexander Remoto, Bienvenido Suco, Isidro Maglaki Ebrado Jr., and Elvie Gealon Doong filed a motion for reconsideration and asked the anti-graft court to “take a second look” at the evidence.
They said the Purchase Order indicated a generic 4×4 pickup truck, which proves that they did not pre-select the vehicle they eventually bought.
The accused added that the Commission on Audit (COA) did not find manifest partiality and evident bad faith on their part.
The court said it found no merit in the appeal.
The five were convicted alongside former Tambulig Mayor Caridad Baguio Balaod and sentenced of from six to 10 years imprisonment. They were also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
The court ruled that on July 17, 2012, all six gave undue advantage to Evelyn Ranile when they purchased, through a negotiated procurement and not a public bidding, an Isuzu DMAX 4×4 Crew Cab Pick-up Utility vehicle model 2007 with plate number KDM 277 worth P900,000.
The second-hand pickup vehicle was previously adjudicated to Balaod through a compromise agreement entered into on Jan. 14, 2011. It was registered under the name of Ranile on August 1, 2012.
The BAC purchased the vehicle on the request of the mayor. The Purchase Request indicated specifications for the particular vehicle, and there was only one vehicle and one seller in consideration.
The three-page resolution was written by Chairperson Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta with the concurrence of Associate Justices Zaldy Trespeses and Georgina Hidalgo.