Ex-Quezon City councilor convicted of graft, faces up to 32 years

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Ex-Quezon City councilor convicted of graft, faces up to 32 years

Barangays in Quezon City's District 3 were supposed to receive various supplies based on then-councilor Dante de Guzman's purchase request in 2008, but the items 'were not distributed and could no longer be located and accounted for,' says the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has convicted former Quezon City councilor Dante de Guzman of four counts of graft over the failed distribution of millions of pesos worth of supplies meant for barangays in the city’s District 3.

In its decision promulgated on April 30, the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division sentenced De Guzman to six to eight years imprisonment for each graft charge, or a total of 24 to 32 years.

The court said De Guzman violated Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for gross inexcusable negligence due to the non-distribution of P6,411,261.01 worth of supplies and was ordered to pay the city government that amount subject to 6% yearly interest from the finality of the decision until full payment.

“Accused De Guzman’s failure to cause the distribution of the said items to the different barangays of District 3, Quezon City was attended by gross inexcusable negligence,” the court said.

It added that because of this, the “Quezon City government suffered undue injury in the amount of P6,411,261.01.”

The court, however, cited insufficient evidence in acquitting De Guzman of four counts of falsification of public documents and four counts of malversation of public property. 

Associate Justice and Sixth Division chairperson Sarah Jane T. Fernandez penned the decision with concurrences from Associate Justice Karl B. Miranda and Kevin Narce B. Vivero concurring. 

According to the testimony of prosecution witnesses, De Guzman was the one who submitted the purchase requests for the following in 2008, under his office’s Project Procurement Management Plan (PPMP):

  • 141 custom-made design tents – P3.49 million
  • 1,177 kiddie raincoats and 1,177 rain boots – P994,565
  • Food supplies – P352,986
  • sports supplies – P2.79 million

The items were to be distributed to barangays in District 3, but based on the findings of an audit team from the Commission on Audit, the supplies never arrived at the intended communities and were not traceable.

“Accused De Guzman failed to cause the distribution of the subject items to the intended beneficiaries. The items were not distributed and could no longer be located and accounted for,” the court said.

The audit team and the city government were furnished with the distribution lists but the latter “appear to have prepared and falsified to conceal the non-distribution,” the court said. –

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