Ombudsman blocks Pasay ex-mayor, lawmaker’s bid for retrial | Inquirer News

Ombudsman blocks Pasay ex-mayor, lawmaker’s bid for retrial

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 12:05 AM January 17, 2016

The Office of the Ombudsman has opposed the petition of former Pasay City Mayor Wenceslao “Peewee” Trinidad and former Rep. Jose Antonio Roxas that asked the Sandiganbayan to overturn their recent conviction for graft over a fraudulent P500-million infrastructure project in 2003.

In November last year, the antigraft court’s First Division sentenced Trinidad and Roxas to up to 10 years in prison for unlawfully awarding the contract for the construction of Pasay City Mall and Public Market to a company owned by controversial businessman Cedric Lee.

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In their opposition, state prosecutors argued that they were able to prove beyond reasonable doubt during the trial that Trinidad had no authority to conduct a public bidding and grant the multimillion-peso contract to Lee’s Izumo Contractors Inc., based on Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

They also opposed Roxas’ request for a retrial, citing the “serious errors” committed by his former lawyers. “Nothing is more settled than the rule that the negligence and mistakes of a counsel are binding on the client,” the government lawyers argued.

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“Otherwise, there would never be an end to suit, so long as [the] counsel could allege its own fault or negligence to support the client’s case and obtain remedies and reliefs already lost by the operation of law,” they said.

In its decision, the court said Trinidad and Roxas, then a city councilor, violated Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, for providing “unwarranted benefits” to Izumo.

The Ombudsman said the former mayor had approved the contract as head of the prequalification bids and awards committee even if the body had “ceased to exist” with the enactment of RA No. 9184.

The court said a “conspiracy existed by and between [the accused] considering that the procurement of the project… could not have been made possible without each other’s participation and cooperation.”

Besides meting out the jail term, the court also barred Trinidad and Roxas from holding any public office for six years and one day.

The pair was also found guilty of violating Article 237 of the Revised Penal Code, which prohibits public officials from “prolonging [their] performance of duties and powers.”

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TAGS: Cedric Lee, Jose Antonio Roxas, Ombudsman, Pasay City, Pasay City Mall and Public Market, Peewee Trinidad
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