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Ex-Zambo del Norte mayor, current vice mayor guilty

The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has found former Labason, Zamboanga del Norte, Mayor Wilfredo Balais and incumbent Vice Mayor Virgilio Go guilty of graft in connection with the anomalous purchase of a secondhand vehicle in 2011.

Both were sentenced to up to 12 years in prison aside from being perpetually disqualified from public office. The case stemmed from the municipality’s procurement, through Go, of a secondhand Nissan Patrol from Eduardo Ayunting of Oro Cars Display Center for P960,000.

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However, there was no proper public bidding and the prosecution said the vehicle was previously sold to Balais through Ayunting for only P500,000.Both Go and Balais told the court they had actually conducted a public bidding but prosecutors were able to present evidence that the process was rife with irregularities.

For one, the Invitation to Apply for Eligibility and to Bid specified the name of the project as “1 unit Nissan Patrol,” a violation of the procurement law because it specified a brand name.The prosecution also said that all three prospective bidders failed to submit complete documents.

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“Such acts squarely fall within the definition of evident bad faith, which connotes not only bad judgment, but also palpably and patently fraudulent and dishonest purpose to do moral obliquity or conscious wrongdoing for some perverse motive or ill will,” the court said in its decision.

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TAGS: convicted, guilty, mayor, Sandiganbayan, vice mayor, Zamboanga del Norte
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