The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has denied the motion for reconsideration filed by former Tukuran Mayor Francisvic Villamero of Zamboanga del Sur and two others to file a demurrer to evidence in their graft charge due to the reportedly anomalous procurement of a motor grader back in 2011.
Villamero was accused of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act alongside Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Roberto Sayson, Vice Chairman Loreto Peñaranda, and members Rogelim Cabrales, Noe Gozalo, Ricardo Solis, Wilfredo David, Jovito Ondiano, and Solomon Donor.
Private individual Cesario Advincula Jr., President of IVAN CARR Industrial Supply and Construction Inc., is likewise charged with graft.
On May 11, 2011, the accused local officials reportedly gave unwarranted benefit and advantage to Advincula and his company when they awarded the contract for the purchase of one unit Chenggong MG1320C Motor Grader amounting to P9,450,000 to them.
The prosecution noticed several irregularities in the procurement, starting with the absence of any advertisement about the bidding invitation in a newspaper of general circulation. They also indicated the brand Chenggong in the purchase request, and even post-qualified IVAN CARR despite its failure to submit the necessary requirements.
At the same time, they facilitated the payment in favor of IVAN CARR even though the transaction reeked of anomalies of the procurement law.
Villamero, Solis, and Ondiano filed motions for reconsideration after the anti-graft court refused back on September 2020 to let them file a demurrer to evidence, which would contest the prosecution’s evidence as being insufficient to reach a guilty verdict.
Villamero argued that the prosecution failed to prove acts of conspiracy among the accused, and all testimonial and documentary evidence presented failed to show how the accused conspired with one another.
He added that the transaction was carried out in good faith, since Ivan CARR had submitted all of the required papers and credentials.
Solis and Ondiano, on the other hand, also pointed out the absence of conspiracy among the accused. They added that they were merely present as “observers” in the transaction as members of the BAC.
However, the anti-graft court denied their motion, for having been filed way past the reglamentary period. At the same time, the court found no merit in the accused’s arguments.
“As already ruled and extensively discussed by the court in its assailed order of 23 September 2020, if unrebutted, the evidence presented by the prosecution is prima facie sufficient to support a verdict of conviction against the accused,” the resolution said.
The eight-page resolution was written by Associate Justice Kevin Narce Vivero with the concurrence of Sixth Division Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez and Associate Justice Karl Miranda.