Former Philippine National Railways (PNR) General Manager Manuel Dinamarca Andal has been found guilty by the Sandiganbayan of two counts of graft in connection with the irregular contracts he entered into with Pandol Korea Limited and Nikka Trading back in 2009.
He was sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of eight years and one month as minimum to 12 years as maximum for each of the graft charges or a total of 16 to 24 years imprisonment, with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
Andal was likewise ordered to indemnify the government with P86,505,000.
His first graft charge stemmed from the procurement of 170,000 sets of rail fastenings and 50,000 pieces of clips and insulators from Pandol Korea on May 21, 2009 through direct contracting.
The second graft charge was for the purchase of 50,000 sets of anti-vandal concrete sleepers, rail fastening assembly from Nikka Trading on August 12, 2009 even though there already was an existing similar contract with another company – Pandol Korea. As a result, undue injury was caused to the government in the amount of P86,505,000.
During trial, Andal reasoned that he was just the authorized signatory of PNR, and it was the PNR that entered into contracts with Pandol Korea and Nikka. He argued that any irregularity entered into the contracts should not be pinned on him, particularly the contract with Pandol Korea because it was authorized by the PNR Board through Resolution No. 05-2009.
However, the anti-graft court’s Fourth Division said that the PNR Board Resolution specified that direct contracting should only be resorted to on a certain condition – that the certification of the Transportation Secretary first be sought. In this case, there was no certification.
As for the contract with Nikka, Andal justified his resort to another contract that their rail fastening clips of Nikka’s were of better quality than those of Pandol Korea. But regardless of his intentions, the court said that Andal was not authorized to transact with Nikka when he signed the contract.
“As can be seen, there is no express ratification of any of the actions that accused undertook with Nikka Trading,” the decision read. “On the contrary, the authority conferred upon accused was supposed to be exercised prospectively.”
The court stressed that the contract with Nikka Trading was entered into in absolute disregard of the Procurement Law, and Andal disregarded proper and efficient expenditure of public funds.
The 23-page decision was written by Associate Justice Bayani Jacinto with the concurrence of Fourth Division Chairperson Alex Quiroz and Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna.