By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
The Sandiganbayan Third Division has affirmed its decision convicting former San Isidro Mayor Requillo Samuya of Bohol of graft for purchasing several kilograms of soil activator through direct contracting back in 2004.
Samuya is facing the conviction for violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act with Akame Marketing International representative Edilbero Apostol.
The two of them entered into a contract for the purchase of 812.5 kgs. of NBEM-21 Microaid Activator for P975,000. However, they did not comply with the mandatory public bidding and did not take the necessary steps for the conduct of direct contracting.
After his conviction, Samuya filed a motion for reconsideration and argued that the prosecution failed to establish the third element of graft, which is undue injury or giving unwarranted benefit or advantage.
He stressed that the micro aid activator fertilizers were delivered to the intended beneficiaries, and there is insufficient evidence to show that he gave unwarranted benefit to Akame Marketing International.
For Samuya, the facts that the bidding procedure was not followed, and Akame is not the sole distributor of the subject fertilizer, are insufficient to justify a conclusion that there was unwarranted benefit given to the company.
However, the anti-graft court found his motion devoid of merit since Samuya did not raise any new arguments that would convince it to overturn its earlier decision.
Samuya might cling to the argument of good faith, but the court found that this was “unavailing” to him. “The application of the ‘good faith’ doctrine is subject to the qualification that the public official has no foreknowledge of any facts or circumstances that would prompt him or her to investigate or exercise a greater degree of care,” the resolution read.
Because of his conviction, Samuya was sentenced to the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of six years and one month as minimum to 10 years as maximum, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
The nine-page resolution was written by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang with the concurrence of Associate Justices Bernelito Fernandez and Ronald Moreno.