THE Sandiganbayan has cleared four officials of the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Unit 11 (DA-RFU 11) in Davao City of a graft charge filed against them in 2017 over alleged irregularities in a P2.5 million procurement contract for multi-purpose tents.
In a 23-page decision penned by Associate Justice Michael Frederick L. Musngi and concurred in by Associate Justices Oscar C. Herrera Jr. and Bayani H. Jacinto, the anti-graft court’s Second Division found defendants Roger Chio, Alma Mahinay, Godofredo Ramos, and Onofre Nugal no guilty of favoring PKMD Enterprises, the firm that won the supply contract.
“After a careful review of the case, the Court finds that the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused for the crime charged,” it declared.
Based on the allegations in the information filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, the four were accused of giving preference to PKMD Enterprises by awarding it the supply contract in September 2005 even if there was no publication of the bidding and invitation to other potential suppliers.
While the agriculture officials were supposed to have acted in conspiracy, the court noted that Chio, as regional director of DA-RFU 11, was not even a member of the Bids and Awards Committee, a fact that was admitted by the prosecution’s own witness.