Misuari found guilty of graft for procuring missing learning materials

Misuari found guilty of graft for procuring missing learning materials

/ 03:28 PM May 24, 2024

Former ARMM governor Nur Misuari

MANILA, Philippines — Former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Nur Misuari has been convicted of graft by the Sandiganbayan.

This ruling is in relation to allegedly missing learning materials procured under his term between 2000 and 2001.


Sandiganbayan’s Third Division promulgated its decision against Misuari on Friday regarding the P31 million learning tools purchased from MBJ Learning Tools and the P46.2 million CPR Publishing.


According to the anti-graft court, it was clearly established that payments were made to the two companies mentioned.

The prosecution, however, failed to prove that the learning materials procured by the Department of Education (DepEd) provincial office in ARMM from MBJ Learning Tools were not delivered.

READ: Misuari charged over P115M ARMM textbook deal 

Nevertheless, Sandiganbayan still decided to convict Misuari and four officials of DepEd-ARMM because no bidding was conducted for both contracts.

“The failure to prove non-delivery of the subject information technology package will not, however, absolve the accused, more so when the fact of payment had been proven,” the Third Division said.


“As earlier stated, public bidding had not been conducted,” it noted.

“Under Section 366 of the LGC (Local Government Code), as well as under COA (Commission on Audit) Circular No. 92-386, procurement of supplies may be made without the benefit of public bidding under any following modes: (a) personal canvass of responsible merchants; (b) emergency procurement; (c) negotiated purchase; (d) direct purchase from manufacturers or exclusive distributors; and (e) purchase from other government entities,” it added.

READ: WHAT WENT BEFORE: ARMM ‘textbook scam’ 

Sandiganbayan said it was clear that there was canvassing, but no bidding — which only shows that unwarranted benefits were given to the MBJ Learning Tools.

For the case involving CPR Publishing, Sandiganbayan said the prosecution was able to show that the company was not capable of supplying DepEd-ARMM during that time.

According to the Third Division, the prosecution’s insistence on the improbability of delivery is strengthened by the following:

Certification from the Caloocan City government in February 2007 showing that CPR Publishing House had no records in the area

Bureau of Internal Revenue’s certification that it had no records for CPR Publishing House

Certification of Non-Registration of Company issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission

“If at all, these documents indicate that CPR Publishing had no capacity and/or did not engage in business during the indicated periods, and thus, could have not delivered the information technology package worth millions of pesos in 2001,” Sandiganbayan stated.

No public bidding was also conducted for the procurement from CPR Publishing, leading the court to be convinced that there was conspiracy among members of the DepEd office in the ARMM who were charged.

“Under these circumstances, we hold that the accused acted in concert to attain a common purpose,” it said.

“Their respective actions summed up to collective efforts to achieve a common objective,” it noted.

“We emphasize that it is common design which is the essence of conspiracy – conspirators may act separately or together, in different manners but always leading to the same unlawful result,” the court explained.

“The character and effect of conspiracy are not to be adjudged by dismembering it and viewing its separate parts, but only by looking at it as a whole,” the justices stated.

“Acts done to give effect to the conspiracy may be, in fact, wholly innocent acts. Yet, if they are parts of the sum of the acts which are relied upon to effectuate the conspiracy which the law forbids, they lose that character,” they emphasized.

Misuari, former DepEd officials Leovigilda Cinches, Pangalian Maniri, Sittie Aisa Usman and Alladin Usi were sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment of up to six years and one to a maximum of eight years.

They are also perpetually disqualified from holding public office, for the MBJ Learning Tools contract.

In addition, Misuari, the six officials involved, plus Nader Macagaan and Cristeta Ramirez, were also given the separate penalty of six years and one-day imprisonment up to eight years.

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This penalty comes along with perpetual disqualification to hold public office, for the contract with CPR Publishing.

On the other hand, all of the accused were acquitted of two cases of malversation of public funds because of the failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt.

TAGS: Graft, Misuari

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