6 ex-DPWH execs convicted for ghost repairs of vehicles
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - December 2, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan has convicted six former ranking officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for allegedly pocketing P5.2 million worth of public funds through supposed ghost repairs of the agency’s service vehicles.

In an 85-page resolution promulgated on Nov. 10, the Fourth Division of the anti-graft court found the former DPWH officials – Director III Burt Favorito, Assistant Director Florendo Arias, division chiefs Maximo Borje and Erdito Quarto, equipment inspector Rolando Castillo and storekeeper Felipe San Jose – guilty of multiple counts of graft and estafa through falsification of public documents.

Also convicted in the same cases was private respondent Conchita de la Cruz, owner of DEB Auto Repair Shop and Parts Supply Corp.

They were all sentenced to a minimum of 10 years to a maximum 20 years imprisonment. The court also ordered their perpetual disqualification from holding public office and to pay the government the amount of P5.2 million.

The Fourth Division said prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman were able to present sufficient evidence to prove that the respondents, from March to December 2001, disbursed a total of P5,166,539 for 274 transactions for the supposed repair of 39 service vehicles.

The court said it was established in the course of the hearings that the supporting documents, such as job orders, pre and post repair inspection reports, sales invoices and office receipts, acceptance reports, among others were all “falsified” in order to support the issuance of disbursement vouchers.

The court further said the respondents also violated procurement rules by splitting the repair contracts involving only a few vehicles to circumvent prescribed procurement limitations.

The court cited that one service vehicle for instance was “ghostly” repaired 14 times.

“While there are 14 DVs (disbursement vouchers) representing 14 transactions here, the subject is only one damaged vehicle which supposed need for repair had been recycled a number of times in less than a year,” the Fourth Division ruling read.

The court said the reimbursements “were actually false claims that formed part of sinister schemes to steal government funds.”

“The accused willfully signed documents representing supposed repairs they know fully well never happened,” the resolution read.

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