3 ex-DPWH execs get 8 years over ASEAN lampposts
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - October 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Three former officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) office in Central Visayas have been convicted of graft in connection with the anomalous award of a contract for decorative lampposts in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, which were installed during the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in 2007.

In an 81-page decision promulgated on Sept. 29, the Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division sentenced former regional director Robert Lala, maintenance division officer-in-charge Pureza Fernandez and legal officer and bids and awards committee member Agustino Hermoso to up to eight years in prison.

The court said the three former DPWH officials were found guilty of violating Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Gerardo Surla, chairman of the board of Gampik Construction and Development Inc., was meted the same penalty.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2008, the case stemmed from the award of a P35.6-million contract to Gampik for the supply and installation of traffic signal lights and decorative lampposts in major roads in Lapu-Lapu City.

The ombudsman said the contract was awarded to Gampik despite lack of public bidding in violation of RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The court said the three DPWH officials gave unwarranted benefit, advantage and preference to Surla.

The contract was found overpriced by P12.6 million, it added.

In the same decision, the anti-graft court acquitted Lala, Fernandez, Hermoso and six other former DPWH officials as well as Surla of another graft case in connection with the award of a P24.97-million contract for the supply and installation of lampposts in Mandaue City, also as part of the preparation for the 2007 ASEAN summit.

The sixth division said the prosecution failed to prove its allegation that the contract was overpriced by P17.48 million.

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