Former transport officials embroiled in PDAF scam get 6 years for fake procurement in 2005

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Former transport officials embroiled in PDAF scam get 6 years for fake procurement in 2005

ANTI-GRAFT. File photo of Sandiganbayan in Quezon City taken on June 30, 2018.


Five former Department of Transportation officialsand a businessman were found guilty of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act

MANILA, Philippines – Former government officials who worked for then Department of Transportation and Communication’s (DOTC) Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) and a businessman are convicted of graft because of a fraudulent P5.9-million procurement deal for mobile phone units.

The Sandiganbayan on June 7 released the 172-page decision penned by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, with Associate Justices Bernelito Fernandez and Ronald Moreno concurring.

Former DOTC Directors Elmer Soneja, Venancio Santidad, Ildefonso Patdu Jr., and Rebecca Cacatican; DOTC legal officer Geronimo Quintos; and businessman Domingo Samuel Jonathan Ng were found guilty of one count for violating Section 3 (e) of RA 2019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

All ex-government officials and Ng were sentenced to six to 10 years of imprisonment on top of being perpetually disqualified from holding public office. They, however, were acquitted of a charge of malversation of public funds due to lack of evidence.

The 2016 case stemmed from allegations that funds from former Iloilo Representative Judy Syjuco’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) were used for a fraudulent transaction involving 1,582 units of Nokia 1100.

The anti-graft court’s Third Division noted that the P5.9-million transaction did not even follow the country’s official procurement process under RA 9184 as no public bidding was held to procure the mobile phones. The Nokia 1100 units were also not delivered to the intended beneficiaries.

It was the DOTC officials who approved the deal, even with the transaction not following the usual process.

“In sum, the Court finds accused BAC members Santidad, Quintos, Patdu, Cacatan, and Soneja’s brazen disregard of the explicit provisions of the procurement law… and obliviousness to patent irregularities surrounding the subject procurement resulted in the illegal award of the subject contract to accused Ng,” Sandiganbayan’s decision read.

West Island Beverages Distributor, which is owned by Ng, got the contract despite only supplying prepaid cards.

Meanwhile, Syjuco, who was a co-accused in the two cases, entered into a plea bargain deal with the Office of the Ombudsman and pleaded guilty to Frauds Against Public Treasury and Failure of Accountable Officer to Render Accounts. She also paid P5.9 million to the court in September 2022 to cover the contract cost of the fraudulent transaction. –

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