Ex-NPDC official pleads guilty to P12-M scam
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - May 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Former National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) acting executive director Salome Habal has pleaded guilty to breach of conduct cases over the anomalous awarding of a P12.625-million security service contract to a private firm.

In its decision, the Sandiganbayan Seventh Division noted that Habal, during her re-arraignment last May 10, pleaded guilty to two counts of violation of Section 7 (a) Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Section 7 (a) of RA 6713 prohibits public officials and employees from having financial or material interest in any transaction requiring the approval of their office.

Habal entered a guilty plea after the Seventh Division approved the plea bargain deal between her and the prosecution panel of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Under the deal, Habal shall plead guilty to lesser offense of violation of RA 6713 on the condition that the prosecution shall withdraw the two counts of graft it originally filed against her in connection with the alleged security service contract anomaly.

With her voluntary admission of guilt, the Seventh Division only imposed against Habal a fine of P10,000.

Filed by ombudsman in 2017, the cases stemmed from Habal’s release of a total of P12.625 million to private firm Variance Protective and Security Agency for its supposed rendered security services from 2004 to 2010.

The ombudsman said the payments were released to Variance in 2009 and 2010 even when the awarding of the service contract was attended with irregularities such as the lack of public bidding and other pre-procurement conferences.

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