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Ex-CamSur governor cleared in ‘anomalous’ fuel deal

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
Ex-CamSur governor cleared in âanomalousâ fuel deal
In a 55-page decision, the anti-graft court said it found no irregularity in the purchase of petroleum products from the Petron Naga Fuel Express without public bidding, which it said was also practiced by other local government units.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the graft charges filed against former Camarines Sur governor now Rep. LRay Villafuerte in connection with the allegedly anomalous purchase of fuel by the provincial government in 2010.

In a 55-page decision, the anti-graft court said it found no irregularity in the purchase of petroleum products from the Petron Naga Fuel Express without public bidding, which it said was also practiced by other local government units.

The ruling was made available through a statement sent recently by Villafuerte to journalists covering the House of Representatives.

The Sandiganbayan declared that the prosecution panel failed to prove that Villafuerte conspired with the fuel supplier when he approved the procurement of P20 million worth of petroleum products.

The anti-graft court said the provincial government even incurred savings in purchasing the petroleum products from the supplier due to a locked-in price arrangement.

The arrangement protected the provincial government from subsequent surges in the pump prices at the time.

Villafuerte approved the procurement to offset the volatility in fuel prices in 2010.

“Out anti-corruption and procurement laws should not deter government officials from exercising lawful powers to address emergencies and crises. These should guide and motivate to do the right thing,” the ruling said.

The provincial government had a fuel deposit arrangement with Petron Naga, which offered the lowest possible price in the area.

The arrangement involved free storage by the supplier of all gasoline and diesel products purchased by the provincial government.

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