Former Lanao town mayor found guilty of graft
The former mayor of Binidayan town in Lanao del Sur has been found guilty of graft for authorizing a procurement deemed disadvantageous to the government.
Sandiganbayan’s Special Seventh Division said in a ruling dated October 5, 2018 but made public only on Tuesday that ex-Mayor Aman Misbac Datumulok violated Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act when he allowed the purchase of a dump truck and a wheel loader without public bidding.
According to the complainant, incumbent Mayor Abdullah Datumulok and brother of the accused, Aman took advantage of his official position by giving “unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference” to a certain E.B. Ople Trading (EBOT).
The total price of the equipment, both made by Volvo, was P20 million — the dump truck was priced at P11 million, and the wheel loader around P9 million.
However, investigation showed that the wheel loader purchased by the local government unit was a second-hand TCM Michigan worth only P1.7 million, or overpriced by P7.3 million.
The anti-graft court said that all four elements of violation of Section 3 of R.A. 3019 were present in Aman’s move to purchase government assets without public bidding.
“There is likewise no dispute that no public bidding was conducted in the procurement of the subject heavy equipment,” Sandiganbayan said.
“If the intent was to procure a dump truck and a wheel loader, it should have been done through competitive public bidding based only on allowed specifications, not brand names,” the Court added.
Abdullah said in his testimony that even if he was appointed as municipal sdministrator and a member of the Bids and Awards Committee in 2008, he was not aware of resolutions regarding the construction projects.
He added that he never met or had any feud with his brother prior to this issue.
Sandiganbayan noted that despite the possible motives of the complainant, the pieces of evidence are sufficient to prove Datumulok’s guilt.
“It has not escaped the attention of this Court that this is a case filed by brother against his brother, which inevitably begs the question of the intention behind it,” Sandiganbayan said.
“Nevertheless, such blatant disregard of the laws on procurement, no matter the reason behind its reaching this Court, carries consequences, which accused Datumulok must now face,” the Court explained.
Aside from being perpetually disqualified from holding any public office, Datumulok will serve six years to ten years in prison. /ee
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