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Sandigan affirms conviction of 6 former DepEd-Region XI execs

January 25, 2009 3:56pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan has upheld its August 1, 2008 conviction of six former officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Davao Region in connection with fraudulent purchase of construction materials for an elementary school building in Davao City in 1991.

A six-page resolution promulgated last January 12 identified the defendants as:

* Venancio R. Nava, former DECS-Region XI regional director;
* Susana B. Cabahug, former assistant regional director;
* Aquilina B. Granada, former administrative officer;
* Carlos B. Bautista, former finance officer;
* Edilberto P. Madria, former administrative officer; and
* Felipe Pancho, former supply officer

The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division also convicted private defendant Jesusa dela Cruz, president of supply firm Giomiche Inc.

All seven accused were sentenced to six to 12 years imprisonment and ordered to jointly repay the government the alleged overprice of P512,967.69. They were also barred for life from holding any position in government in the future.

The seven were convicted after the court found proof that there was no public bidding conducted for the construction project and that the accused merely simulated documents and processes to make it appear that procurement rules were observed.

The court likewise found proof that the accused overpriced the construction supplies and materials in the amount of P512,967.69.

In their appeal, the defendants claimed the court erred in giving weight to the canvass of materials conducted by the Commission on Audit (CoA), saying auditors did not follow procedures.

Prosecutors countered that the COA canvass should be accorded presumption of regularity in the absence of malice, bias or gross error on the part of the auditors.

Likewise, the Sandiganbayan pointed out that none of the defendants raised new arguments that would compel it to reverse its original ruling.

“(T)he Motions for Reconsideration abjectly failed to raise maters that would compel the Court to reconsider the judgment of conviction; neighter did any of the accused raise anything that would persuade the court to alter any conclusion reached on the questioned Decision for being contrary to law,” it declared. - GMANews.TV
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