News Briefs: March 3, 2017

Ex-Iloilo congresswoman Syjuco stands trial for pork barrel misuse 

MANILA – Former Iloilo Representative Judy Syjuco will stand trial for the charges of graft and malversation of public funds, according to a Sandiganbayan Third Division resolution issued on February 27.

The charges are in relation to her alleged involvement in a fraudulent P5.9 million procurement deal from 2004, where she used her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

The charges concerned an alleged fake procurement of 1,582 mobile phone units in 2004. The units were purchased with Syjuco’s PDAF, supposedly for distribution in 8 municipalities in the second district of Iloilo. However, the phones were not delivered to the intended beneficiaries, and procurement laws were violated due to a lack of public bidding.  

West Island Beverages Distributor, a distributor of mobile phone cards, acquired the supply contract. The Sandiganbayan noted, however, the affidavit of a sales executive of Smart Communications saying West Island did not purchase any Nokia 1100 phones between December 2004 and February 2005, the period material to the case. The serial numbers listed by West Island also turned out to be phone units sold by Smart to other distributors.

While Syjuco has already posted bail, the Sandiganbayan ordered arrest warrants be issued against former Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) bids and awards committee chairman Domingo Reyes Jr, vice chairman Elmer Soneja, and members Rebecca Cacatian, Ildefonso Patdu Jr, Geronimo Quintos, and Venancio Santidad. DOTC Inspector Marcelo Desiderio Jr, storekeeper Antonio Cruz, and DOTC technical inspector Danilo Dela Rosa are also set to be issued arrest warrants.  

Private defendant Domingo Samuel Jonathan Ng, owner of West Island and the supposed supplier of the phones, is also facing possible arrest. –  


Anti-graft court to proceed with trial of former Pagcor chief Genuino 

MANILA – Efraim Genuino, the former chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), failed to have 4 pending perjury charges with the Sandiganbayan dismissed.

Genuino is accused of not disclosing a number of valuable properties under his and his wife’s name in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) from 2002 to 2005. Prosecutors said he undervalued his assets, as he left out information regarding a few of his properties: 4 lots in Makati City, one in Muntinlupa City, and another two in Laguna.