MCIAA ex-GM, 4 others convicted of graft

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    FORMER Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) general manager Adelberto Yap is facing a lengthy vacation behind bars after the Sandiganbayan Third Division convicted him on two counts of graft last February 14.

    Based on the 40-page decision penned by Associate Justice Ronald B. Moreno, Yap was sentenced to a total of 12 to 18 years imprisonment with perpetual disqualification from holding another public office.

    Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Bernelito R. Fernandez concurred.

    Also sentenced to six to 10 years imprisonment with a life-long disqualification from holding any other government post were Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairperson Veronica Ordoñez, legal officer and BAC member Sigfredo Dublin, and accounting division Ma. Venus Casas, and private defendant Marlon Barillo, president of Asiaborders Philippines Inc.

    They were found guilty of participation in the anomalous procurement of an Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) truck which involved the release of P6 million as advance payment to supplier Asiaborders in violation of section 88 of Presidential Decree No. 1445 which prohibits any form of payment for items not yet delivered.

    Yap was also convicted as lone defendant in the second graft case involving allegations that he entered into a contract that was “manifestly and grossly disadvantageous” to the government on the ground that he agreed to pay Asiaborders for the ARFF truck at $732,000 (P38.14 million in 2006) when the fair value was only $616,836.86 (P30.9 million).

    Trial records showed the MCIAA sent out invitations to foreign suppliers of ARFF vehicle in 2006.

    Those who replied with letters of intent were Ziegler, Rosenbauer International, and Oshkosh Truck Corp.

    Ziegler identified Asiaborders Inc. as its exclusive distributor and agent in the country while Rosenbauer said its representative is Pelican Bay Group Inc. After evaluation of eligibility requirements, both suppliers passed.

    While Oshkosh Trucks also submitted its letter of intent, it was no longer considered for lack of a dealer or agent in the Philippines.

    On technical review however, the bid proposal of Pelican Bay failed to qualify, leaving Asiaborders as the only remaining supplier for consideration.

    During trial, prosecutors presented evidence that the BAC made a questionable move by reducing the minimum number of years of operation by the supplier from “at least five years” to “at least one year.”

    At the witness stand, accused Ordoñez admitted that the committee made the decision to change the requirement for fear that none of the suppliers will qualify.

    Dublin, also testifying for the defense, acknowledged that the BAC did not conduct any market probe to justify the modification of the requirement.

    The prosecution showed that at the time of the transaction, Asiaborders had only been in operation for less than two years.

    “Under these given facts, there can be no question that the accused acted in concert to attain a common purpose. Their respective actions summed up to a collective effort to achieve a common objective,” the Sandiganbayan said.

    In the second graft charge, prosecutors showed that the $732,000 tag price for the ARFF truck was supposed to cover customs duties and taxes but the commercial invoice issued by P.T. Ziegler Indonesia showed the value of the vehicle was only $616,836.86.

    The court noted the government also suffered injury because the Customs Imports Entry and Internal Revenue declaration only listed the value of the vehicle at $80,105 hence it was only assessed customs duties totaling P503,673.

    “It bears noting that the P503,673 was less than one-fifth of the expected taxes which the government could have collected had the true value of the importation been declared,” the court pointed out.

    The ARFF vehicle was delivered to the MCIAA on December 20, 2006, which is way beyond the six months (180 days) deadline set under the March 1, 2006 contract.

    Despite the delay, the MCIAA failed to collect liquidated damages from the supplier totaling P3.966 million.

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