Ex-Maguindanao official gets 8 years for corruption

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    FORMER Maguindanao provincial budget officer Datu Ali Abpi, Al Haj has been convicted by the Sandiganbayan of corruption and sentenced to eight to twelve years in jail with disqualification from holding any other government post.

    In its 30-page decision, the anti-graft court’s Fourth Division likewise ordered Abpi to pay P14.25 million in fines, which is equivalent to the amount of medical supplies questionably procured from Farmacia Minda in 2008 and 2009.

    Abpi was found guilty of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

    At the same time, the Sandiganbayan issued arrest warrants against Abpi’s
    tTwo co-accused who remain at large – former provincial accountant John Estelito Dollosa Jr. and former provincial treasurer Osmeña Bandila. Copies of the warrants were furnished to the National Bureau of Investigation, the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the PNP provincial director of Maguindanao, and the chiefs of police of Cotabato City and the municipality of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

    Three of the original defendants – former provincial administrator Norie Unas, OIC-provincial engineer Landap Guinaid, and provincial general services officer Kasan Macapendeg – died during the pendency of the case resulting in the dropping of their names in the list of persons accused.

    Likewise, the court noted that the transactions happened during the term of Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr. as governor but the Office of the Ombudsman no longer included him in the indictment because he passed away on July 17, 2015 before the charges were filed in court.

    The cases stemmed from a special audit conducted on Maguindanao’s spending of its Internal Revenue Allotment totaling P80.207 million wherein P65.96 million was supposedly paid to Henry Merchandising supposedly for food supplies while P14.25 million in medicines were allegedly purchased from Farmacia Minda.

    In convicting Abpi, the court said the prosecution sufficiently proved that the purchase contracts with Henry Merchandise and Farmacia Minda never happened because the said business establishments do not exist.