Ex-DOT chief Ace Durano convicted of graft over 2009 project | Inquirer News
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Ex-DOT chief Ace Durano convicted of graft over 2009 project

By: - Senior Reporter / @inquirervisayas
/ 05:04 AM December 02, 2021

Former Tourism Secretary Ace Durano (File photo from Philippine Daily Inqurier)

CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has convicted former Tourism Secretary Ace Durano of graft over the development of the agency’s 2009 wall calendar, worth P2.7 million, that allegedly failed to undergo a public bidding.

The antigraft court’s ruling was promulgated through online proceedings on Nov. 26.

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Durano’s lawyer, Dwight Remedio, said the Sandiganbayan imposed a jail term on the former secretary but they had yet to get a copy of the decision to determine the exact penalty.

Remedio said they would exhaust all legal options to prove that Durano did not commit anything illegal.

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“Secretary Ace was implicated in the case simply because of command responsibility. We will file a motion for reconsideration and, if denied, we will elevate the case to the Court of Appeals and to the Supreme Court,” he told the Inquirer in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed a case against Durano on March 22, 2019, for allegedly conniving with officials of the bids and awards committee (BAC) of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in giving PDP Digital Inc. unwarranted benefits for “conceptualization and development” of the DOT calendar “without competitive bidding.”2 cases dismissed

Durano was charged with one count of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).

According to the antigraft office, Durano “unilaterally entered” into a memorandum of agreement, dated Oct. 17, 2008, for the project and instead of a BAC resolution justifying the alternative mode of procurement, he issued a certification dated Dec. 2, 2008.Durano, in a statement, said three cases were initially filed against him based on projects in 2008 and 2009 involving contracts with MTV International, Makati Skyline, and PDP Digital Inc.

He said he was surprised by the recent decision because two of the three cases had already been dismissed.

“Two of the complaints were already dismissed. Now in 2021, after I declared my bid to run for governor of Cebu, this case came out,” Durano said.

He is challenging the reelection bid of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia in next year’s polls.

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Durano said that he was confident to fight the case head on since he knew it was all “politically motivated and that the truth would always prevail.”

He clarified that all goods and services connected to the projects in question were delivered based on the contract’s specifications.

“This is just a minor speed bump on the road because our campaign is gaining momentum. This will not discourage us from pursuing a dream of a better Cebu,” Durano said.

“I will face this case because I know my services are clean for the development of all,” he added.

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