Former Baganga mayor meted 10 years for graft

THE Sandiganbayan has sentenced the former mayor of Baganga, Davao Oriental up to 10 years in jail after finding him guilty of graft for anomalous purchase of P196,900 worth of medicines without public bidding in 2001.

In a 21-page decision of the Sandiganbayan, Gerry Morales, along with former municipal officials, namely, Emeritos Jovilla, Francisco Jimenez and Reymundo Escamillan, were found guilty of violating Sec. 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).

They were sentenced to suffer six years to 10 years imprisonment with the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

The Sandiganbayan also ordered all the respondents to indemnify the government the amount of P196,900.00 as civil liability.

Based on the Dec. 29 statement, the anti-graft prosecutors said “the accused connived with each other and acted with evident bad faith in procuring 110 boxes of de-worming tablets under the guise of an emergency purchase to circumvent the law on competitive public bidding.”

The supporting documents for the said transaction were highly questionable as they lacked signatures with the sales invoice issued before the purchase order, the press statement added.

The Sandiganbayan, in the decision also said that, “[t]heir inconsistencies lead this Court to believe that they attempted to circumvent the more exacting rules for public bidding by classifying the procurement as an emergency purchase.”

[M]edicine for deworming cannot be, in all honesty, considered as an emergency purchase even in the face of a Sangguniang Bayan Resolution which states that there is a calamity,” the anti-graft court added.

Earlier this year, Morales was also convicted by the Sandiganbayan over irregular purchase of oil and grease, sentencing him to 6-10 years imprisonment.

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