Ex-Tarlac mayor, 2 others get 20-year jail term for graft

MANILA –The Sandiganbayan has sentenced three former officials of a town in Tarlac to 20 years imprisonment after they were found guilty of illegally purchasing almost PHP700,000 worth of items from a company not accredited by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in 1996 and 1997.

The anti-graft court’s 1st Division found guilty of two counts of graft former Capas, Tarlac Mayor Hermes Frias, former municipal administrative officer Gener Taruc and former municipal accountant Rolando Domingo for the purchase of several items from private supplier Gem Trading (Gem) worth PHP697,781.48.

In a decision dated January 18, the court, however, cleared Frias of another graft, falsification of public documents, and malversation of public funds charges.

“Failing to prove beyond reasonable doubt all the elements of violation of Article 171 (2) of the RPC [Revised Penal Code], the Court is constrained to order the acquittal of accused Frias,” the court ruled.

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan ordered the Office of the Special Prosecutor to confirm with the National Statistics Office and to report to the court within 30 days from the promulgation of the decision the death of former municipal budget officer Nick Ayuyao, another accused in the case.

Court records showed that the Office of the Ombudsman charged the four accused with graft after they transacted with Gem for the purchase of PHP241,146 and PHP456,635 worth of several items from October 1996 to June 1997 despite knowing that the company is not licensed and authorized to do business by the DTI.

Frias was charged with another graft case for allegedly approving the payment of PHP18,915 for the purchase of an electronic calculator on Mar. 22, 1997 despite the lack of pertinent documents supporting its purchase and delivery.

He was also charged with falsifying from Apr. 25, 1997 to June 20, 1997 the official receipts (ORs) of the 716 Enterprise owned by Roberto Rebosa by making it appear that 42 pails of chlorbocide were purchased, when in fact no such purchases were made.

He also used the ORs were used in his liquidation for cash advances of PHP711,320.40, the prosecutors alleged.

The accused pleaded “not guilty” to the charges against them. 
Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. / PNA – northboundasia.com