Ex-Bohol mayor gets 10 years over fertilizer scam
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - September 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A former town mayor in Bohol has been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison in connection with the fertilizer fund scam.

Requillo Samuya of San Isidro was found guilty of violating Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division said in a decision promulgated on Sept. 6. 

Samuya was also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

The case against Samuya’s co-accused, private supplier Edilberto Apostol of Akame Marketing International, who remains at large, was archived. The court issued another arrest warrant against Apostol.

The case stemmed from a contract that Samuya awarded to Akame Marketing in 2004, for the purchase of 812.5 kilos of fertilizer amounting to P975,000.

The Office of the Ombudsman said there was no public bidding, adding that process under an alternative mode of procurement was not observed. 

The third division pointed out that while alternative modes of procurement, such as direct contracting, is allowed under the Government Procurement Reform Act, the procuring entity should provide a valid justification.

“The accused offered nary an explanation on why there was an immediate need for the purchase of the fertilizer,” the court said.

The third division gave weight to the testimony of ombudsman investigator and prosecutor Ronald Allan Ramos that the procurement was unilaterally approved by Samuya, noting that the municipal government has yet to a create a bids and awards committee at the time.

The Sandiganbayan also cited the testimony of former municipal accountant Leonila Quiwag that she did not sign the disbursement voucher due to incomplete supporting documents.

The purchase of fertilizer by local government units in 2004 was part of the implementation of the Farm Inputs and Farm Implements Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The program was aimed at extending assistance to poor farmers. However, the budget for the program amounting to P723 million was allegeddly diverted to the campaign kitty of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Arroyo was cleared of any involvement in the scam.

The Sandiganbayan also dismissed the plunder case filed against the alleged mastermind in the anomaly, former DA undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante, due to insufficient evidence.

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