MANILA, Philippines –The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has convicted former Baganga, Davao Oriental mayor Gerry Morales and 3 other former municipal officials of graft in connection with the procurement of deworming medicine for his town in 2001.
In a statement on Thursday, December 29, the Office of the Ombudsman said the conviction of Morales stemmed from the 2001 procurement of 11,000 pieces of Mebendazole tablets worth P196,900.
In its 21-page decision, the court said Morales, along with former municipal officials Emeritos Jovilla, Francisco Jimenez, and Reymundo Escamillan were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Republic Act No. 3019, or Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
They were sentenced to 6 to 10 years imprisonment, along with perpetual disqualification from holding public office. They were also ordered to pay the government P196,900 as civil liability.
Prosecutors from the Ombudsman proved during the trial that Morales and the others worked with each other, and acted in evident bad faith in procuring 110 boxes of deworming tablets under the pretense of an emergency purchase to skip public bidding.
The court noted that the supporting documents of that transaction were questionable, lacking signatures and with the sales invoice issued ahead of the purchase order.
The court said Inconsistencies in the former officials’ statements led it “to believe that they attempted to circumvent the more exacting rules for public bidding by classifying the procurement as an emergency purchase.”
The court added deworming medicine “cannot be… considered as an emergency purchase even in the face of a Sangguniang Bayan Resolution which states that there is a calamity,” it added.
The Sandiganbayan convicted Morales earlier this year over an irregular purchase of oil and grease, and sentenced him to 6 to 10 years imprisonment, and in November 14, also for graft. – Rappler.com