By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has denied the motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence filed by former officials of Cainta, Rizal, seeking to challenge the prosecution’s evidence as weak in their graft and violation of Local Government Code case.
Officer-in-Charge of the General Services Office Marciano Doroteo, Budget Officer III Glady Formales, and Municipal Budget Officer Privada Gonzales, all from Cainta, are facing violations of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Section 89 of R.A. 7160 or the Local Government Code.
Their case involves the purchase of a Contex scanner and miscellaneous supplies by the municipality of Cainta, Rizal during the incumbency of former mayor Nicanor Felix.
The purchase of Contex scanner was allegedly overpriced and was made without competitive public bidding. Meanwhile, the miscellaneous supplies from Tueance Alera Gentrade Industries was also made without public bidding and it violated Section 89 of R.A. 7160 because Tueance is owned by Formales and her husband, Alden.
In his motion, Doroteo argued that the Contex scanner was not overpriced because the quotation of P897,300 by MSI Digital Phils. Inc. was merely a suggested retail price and not the real market price. At the same time, the price of the Contex scanner was naturally higher because it was imported from Denmark and paid by installment after 10 months from its shipping date.
He also defended their choice to resort to the alternative mode of direct purchasing, because Joriel Trading submitted a Certificate of Exclusive Distributorship.
As for the office supplies purchased from Tuance, Doroteo said the prosecution failed to prove how he knew of Formales’ relation to the supplier. The purchase was also exempted from public bidding because it consists of 15 different and separate transactions, none of which exceeds the maximum allowable limit of P60,000 for procurement through personal canvass.
Formales, on the other hand, said in her motion that none of the witnesses have personal knowledge of the crimes she allegedly committed. She likewise said that there was no proof that she gave unwarranted benefits to Tueance. Since she was not a member of the bids and awards committee (BAC), she had no hand in the procurement.
Lastly, Gonzales harped on her motion that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, as well as the documents offered, were not enough to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt for the crimes charged.
Unfortunately for them, the anti-graft court gave no weight to their arguments. “After a thorough review of the records of the cases and the evidence submitted by the prosecution, the Court finds that, if unrebutted, the same is sufficient to support a verdict of guilt,” the resolution read.
The six-page resolution was written by Associate Justice Karl Miranda with the concurrence of Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez and Associate Justice Kevin Narce Vivero.