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Sandiganbayan upholds conviction of ex-PNP chief, 5 others in rubber boats mess

The Sandiganbayan has affirmed the conviction of former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Jesus Verzosa and five others in the graft case related to the purchase of P131.5 million worth of police rubber boats (PRBs) and outboard motors (OBMs) in 2009.

In a decision promulgated on July 19, 2022, the Third Division said that much of the issues raised by the accused-movants in their motions for reconsideration were mere reiterations of the previous arguments raised.

It said that these same issues had been already “sufficiently and substantially addressed by this Court and further discussions would be, at most, duplications.”

On June 25, 2021, the Third Division sentenced Verzosa and fellow PNP officers Benjamin Belarmino Jr., Jefferson Soriano, Luizo Ticman, Romeo Hilomen, and Villamor Bumanglag to six to eight years imprisonment.

Former Police Director Ronald Roderos, a member of the PNP National Headquarters (NHQ)-Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), was acquitted of graft “for failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.”

The case stemmed from the PNP’s purchase of 75 PRBs and 93 OBMs from EnviroAire Inc., Geneve SA Philippines, and Bay Industrial Philippines Corp. even when the suppliers did not pass the eligibility tests.

The procured items delivered by the three suppliers also failed to meet the specifications set by the National Police Commission and were not functionally compatible.

According to the Third Division, it finds “no cogent reason to disturb the assailed decision promulgated on June 25, 2021.”

It also denied the following motion for reconsideration due to “lack of merit.”

The decision was penned by Associate Bernelito Fernandez while Presiding Justice or Chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Ronald Moreno concurred. —NB, GMA News