MANILA – The Sandiganbayan anti-graft court has found a former Mountain Province mayor and other officials guilty of graft in connection with anomalous government contracts in 2009.
The anti-graft court’s Third Division, in a decision penned by Associate Justice Ronald B. Moreno dated February 26 and recently made available online, sentenced the accused to up to eight years of imprisonment for each of the two charges.
Convicted were ex-Barlig mayor Magdalena Lupoyon and Albert Marafo, municipal treasurer.
Likewise found guilty for the second charge were Edmundo Challiis Sidchayao, then the vice mayor; former Sangguniang Bayan members Clark Chatongna Ngaya and Fernando Yacam-ma Cablog; and Danilo Lucas, municipal engineer.
The charges arose from two contracts awarded without public bidding for the repair of a pathway leading to Mount Amuyao worth PHP50,000 and for the construction of a gymnasium in the town that cost PHP2.5 million.
State auditors first sensed irregularities after a donation to the town was found to have been deposited to another bank account, seen as a deliberate attempt not to subject the money to government accounting and auditing rules.
“Verily, the rules on public bidding and on public funds disbursement are imbued with public interest. The positions and functions of the six accused impose upon them a greater responsibility in ensuring that rules on these matters are complied with. They are expected to exercise a greater degree of diligence,” the ruling stated. Benjamin Pulta /PNA – northboundasia.com