Ex-PCGG head, 5 others face graft raps over compromise deal

Dennis Carcamo (Philstar.com) - September 9, 2015 - 11:33am
MANILA, Philippines  - The Office of the Ombudsman has indicted former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chief Magtanggol Gunigundo and five other PCGG officials for approving an alleged lopsided compromise deal in 1987.
 
Aside from Gunigundo, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales also ordered the indictment of Reynaldo Guiao, Hermilo Rosal, Julieta Bertuben and Herminio Mendoza, and Director Mauro Estrada for graft.
 
The case stemmed from a petition of forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth filed by PCGG against former Muntinlupa City Mayor Maximino Argana in July 1987. 
 
During trial, Argana’s heirs offered a compromise settlement wherein the government would get 361.92 hectares, representing 75 percent of the total 481.78 hectares.
 
Under the deal, Argana's heirs would retain the remaining 199.86 hectares or 25 percent of the land in dispute located in Famy and Pangil in Laguna.
 
In July 1998, the Sandiganbayan approved the compromise agreement. 
 
In October 1998, the PCGG and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), under a new set of officials, filed a Motion to Rescind Compromise Agreement and to Set Aside Judgment by Compromise on the ground of fraud and insidious misrepresentation. 
 
In 2000, the Sandiganbayan Third Division granted the motion. 
 
Investigators from the Office discovered that fraud and misrepresentation tainted the transaction wherein the parties did not disclose the property values with the parcel of property ceded to the government was valued at only P3.62 million.
 
Meanwhile, the market value of the property retained by the Argana heirs located in the urban area was valued at P2.4 billion based on the market valuation of P2,000 per square meter.
 
Morales cited the Sandiganbayan's observation that the agreement "is patently unfair" as it is "a virtual sell-out."
 
"Due to the pronounced inequity in the distribution of properties between the government and the heirs under the agreement, the government stood to suffer substantial loss, hence, the contract was grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government," the resolution said.
 
The charges against Cecilio Estoesta and Zenaida Hernandez-Perez of the OSG were dismissed for lack of probable cause.

ARGANA CECILIO ESTOESTA AND ZENAIDA HERNANDEZ-PEREZ COMPROMISE DEAL DIRECTOR MAURO ESTRADA DIV FAMY AND PANGIL GOOD GOVERNMENT HERMILO ROSAL IN JULY IN OCTOBER JULIETA BERTUBEN AND HERMINIO MENDOZA NBSP
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