Sandigan affirms ex-Davao DA execs’ graft conviction
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - August 23, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has affirmed its ruling convicting four former officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Davao City in connection with the anomalous award of a water supply project in 2006.

In a 14-page resolution promulgated on Aug. 13, the anti-graft court’s sixth division denied for lack of merit the motions for reconsideration filed by former Davao regional executive director Roger Chio, bids and awards committee chaiman Romulo Palcon, finance division chief Alma Mahinay and administrative officer Godofredo Ramos.

In a decision issued on Jan. 30, the sixth division sentenced the four former DA officials to up to eight years in prison for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The court said the former DA officials gave unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to PZA Trading, which bagged the water supply contract.

The sixth division said PZA Trading should have been disqualified, noting that its offer of P2,591,435.40 was 40 centavos higher than the approved budget for the contract.

The court found no merit in Chio’s claim that the price discrepancy was due to typographical error or rounding off of the amount by the bids and awards committee.

The sixth division said Chio did not raise the argument during the trial, making it appear that it was “a last-ditch effort to evade liability.” There was no evidence or witness to back his claim, the court said.

It said the award of the contract to PZA Trading when the bid amount was beyond the approved budget and not the payment of the excess 40 centavos which caused disadvantage to the government.

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