Sandiganbayan orders arrest, trial of Parojinogs
The Sandiganbayan has found probable cause to go ahead with the graft trial of Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., and Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog.
In a seven-page resolution, the court’s Fifth Division ordered the Parojinogs’ arrest after it denied their motions to throw out the graft case against them for lack of probable cause.
“The court is convinced that the prosecution presented ample evidence to support a finding of probable cause, hence the accused must be arrested and brought to trial,” read the resolution penned by Justice Maria Theresa V. Mendoza-Arcega.
The Parojinogs, who were among those linked by President Duterte to narcopolitics, were accused of graft after the father awarded a gymnasium renovation project to his children’s Parojinog & Sons Construction Company (PSCC) in 2008.
Based on preliminary evidence, the court stated that PSCC should have been disqualified from bidding since the elder Parojinog disclosed his interest in the firm in his 2001 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth. It also cited “common knowledge” that the PSCC managing partner was her daughter.
In seeking the dismissal of the charge, the Parojinogs argued that prosecutors misapplied the 2009 implementing rules and regulations of the Government Procurement Reform Act in a case that took place in 2008.
They argued that the 2003 IRR effective at that time did not explicitly require the disclosure of the relationship with the “head of the end-user unit,” even if the 2009 IRR did.
But, the court said Section 47, Rule XV of the 2003 IRR already required the disclosure of relation with “any officers and employees” with direct access to information related to the bidding.
The enumeration was not limited, and the end-user (such as the Ozamiz City government) was deemed a provisional member of the bids and awards committee under the said rules, the court said.
The Parojinogs are accused of violating Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits public officials from “directly or indirectly having financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity…”
The family recently made national news after President Duterte named the mayor among the politicians with links to the illegal drug trade. Duterte at one point erroneously claimed that convicted robber Herbert Colanggo was Mayor Parojinog’s son-in-law.
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