Ex-fire chief, 7 others found guilty of graft



MANILA, Philippines—The Sandiganbayan has convicted former Bureau of Fire Protection Director Mario Tanchangco, six other BFP officials and a businessman for graft in connection with the purchase of P6.5-million worth of vehicle spare parts in 1992 which proved to be nonexistent.

The antigraft court’s Third Division sentenced the accused to six to 10-year imprisonment with perpetual disqualification from public office.

The 67-page decision was penned by Associate Justice Alex L. Quiroz and was concurred in by Presiding Justice Francisco H. Villaruz Jr. and Associate Justice Samuel R. Martires.

Also found guilty were former Fire Senior Supt. Aristeo Argosino, Fire Chief Hilario Cachero, Fire Senior Supt. Leonardo Sabellina Jr., Fire Supt. Romeo Camacho, Fire Senior Inspector Veronica Cataluña, SPO1 Emmanuel Macabuhay and private defendant Analyn Cuesta-Rubio.

The court said there was fraud and dishonesty on the part of the accused, who falsely attested to the delivery of items purchased when no proof of actual distribution was found.

“[T]he accused acted with evident bad faith when they allowed the release of P6,504,802… ostensibly to purchase spare parts which were never delivered to the BFP,” the decision said.

“Their participation is clearly indicated in the audit report,” the Sandiganbayan declared,” it said.

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