Corruption in the Philippines

Ex-Maguindanao governor Sajid Ampatuan convicted in 8 corruption charges

Rappler.com
Ex-Maguindanao governor Sajid Ampatuan convicted in 8 corruption charges

SAJID AMPATUAN. The Sandiganbayan finds him guilty this time. File photo

Ampatuan was found to have falsified public documents pertaining to the irregular procurement of food supplies that amounted to P79.75 million

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan convicted former Maguindanao governor Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan of multiple counts of graft and malversation and ordered him, along with former budget officer Datu Ali Abpi, to pay fines amounting to P79.75 million.

Ampatuan was found guilty of four counts of graft and four counts of malversation of public funds.

The court found that he falsified public documents pertaining to the irregular procurement of food supplies that amounted to the same amount of fines that the Sandiganbayan ordered paid. Abpi, for his part, was found guilty of five counts each for graft and malversation offenses.

The former governor was sentenced to three reclusion perpetua for the first three malversation cases, another 14-18 years for his fourth malversation case, and 6-8 years imprisonment for each count of graft. Identical prison terms were meted to Abpi for the eight charges, but the anti-graft court’s First Division gave him an additional 6-8 years for his fifth graft case and reclusion perpetua for his fifth malversation case.

Both Maguindanao officials were perpetually disqualified from holding government office.

The anomalous food supply procurements were made by Ampatuan between December 2008 and September 2009.

Four suppliers that turned out to be fictitious were supposed to provide the provincial government rice, dried fish, sardines, and brown sugar: H&S Merchandise (P30.34 million), Nestor Merchandise (P29.85 million), N&S Merchandise (P12.88 million), and Isulan General Merchandise (P6.68 million).

Auditors and investigators, however, found that none of them were in the records of the Bureau of Internal Revenie as having paid taxes, none were registered with the Department of Trade and Industry, and none had a mayor’s permit.

Ampatuan and Abpi claimed they did not know about the suspicious nature of the four suppliers but the court was unconvinced.

In December 2019, Ampatuan was acquitted in the murder of 58 people, including 32 journalists, during the gory 2009 Maguindanao massacre. Sajid’s brothers Andal Jr. and Zaldy, along with relatives Datu Anwar Sajid, Datu Anwar Jr., and Datu Anwar Sr. were convicted of 57 counts of murder. – Rappler.com

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