FORMER Viga, Catanduanes municipal mayor Jose Torres, former vice mayor Yolando Tuquero and eight former members of the Sangguniang Bayan were convicted of graft by the Sandiganbayan last October 9 over the anomalous procurement of heavy equipment worth P13.95 million in 2005.
In a 48-page decision penned by Associate Justice Ronald B. Moreno, the Sandiganbayan Third Division found the defendants guilty of causing undue injury to the municipal government and giving unwarranted advantage to supplier Compressed Air Machineries Equipment Corp (CAMEC).
Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Bernelito R. Fernandez concurred.
Aside from Torres and Tuquero, also convicted were SB members Lourdes del Rosario, Asuncion Odi, Rosario Mollasgo, Horacio Aquino Jr., Domingo Villanueva, Orbel Tonio, William Tuplano and Gomercindo Litong.
They were sentenced to six to 10 years imprisonment with perpetual disqualification from holding government office.
The case, filed in 2017, charged all accused of violating procurement laws by doing away with public bidding in the purchase of a backhoe loader and ignoring the process that required a review by the Bids and Awards Committee.
“There is no question that the purchase of the subject backhoe loader did not undergo public bidding, contrary to RA 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) and its IRR,” the court declared.