Ex-DPWH officials get 48 years for faking repairs on gov’t vehicles


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Ex-DPWH officials get 48 years for faking repairs on gov’t vehicles
The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan says the former officials and 4 private individuals conspired to defraud the DPWH of P5.17 million

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has convicted 7 former officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and 4 private individuals of multiple charges of graft and estafa charges in connection with the “fictitious” repair of the agency’s vehicles in 2001.

The Sandiganbayan Fourth Division on Thursday, December 1, also convicted them of falsifying public documents.

Florendo Arias, assistant director for the DPWH-Bureau of Equipment; Maximo Borje, head of the motorpool section; Erdito Quarto, chief of the central equipment and spare parts division; and Burt Favorito, director of the Administrative and Manpower Management Service were each found guilty of 3 counts estafa and graft.

They were sentenced to 48 years imprisonment – 10 years imprisonment for each count of estafa, and 6 years for each count of graft.

They were also ordered to pay the government a total of  P13.033 million, together with the other convicted individuals.

Rolando Castillo, a former DPWH equipment inspector, and Storekeeper I Felipe San Jose were each sentenced to 32 years in prison, for two counts of estafa and graft.

Sentenced to 16 years imprisonment are former DPWH civil security division chief Nelson Umali and the private defendants – Conchita dela Cruz, Janette A. Bugayong, Vicente Santos Jr., and Augusto Capuz. They were found guilty of one count each of graft and estafa.

The convicted former DPWH officials are now also perpetually barred from government service.

Fake repairs 

In 3 separate decisions, the Sandiganbayan said the prosecutors showed that the accused conspired to defraud the DPWH. They made it appear as if repairs were done on government vehicles, when there were no repairs at all.

The court took note of how the defendants claimed to have undertaken 274 repairs on 39 agency vehicles costing P5.17 million, between March and December 2001.

The prosecution also showed that a single vehicle was supposed to have gone through 14 repairs over the same period. The documents, however, appeared to have been recycled.

The court also noted how some of the repair costs appeared to have been exaggerated beyond belief. The repair costs included work on a Ford Fiera – acquired for P58,000 – which had total repairs of P614,406. Meanwhile, a Mitsubishi Lancer bought for P162,000 had repairs costing P868,793, or more than 5 times the cost of the car.

“After a careful and meticulous scrutiny of the evidence on record, the Court finds that the alleged emergency repairs of the… DPWH vehicles… were indeed fictitious and non-existent. They were actually false claims that formed part of sinister schemes to steal government funds,” the Sandiganbayan said. – Rappler.com

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