Ex-Batangas mayor gets 6-10 years for graft
MANILA — The Sandiganbayan has sentenced the former mayor of Lemery town in Batangas, Raul Bendaña, to six up to 10 years’ imprisonment after finding him guilty of graft over the anomalous automation of the revenue generation system in 2004.
The court’s Fourth Division held Bendaña liable for violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for approving the P8.19-million project without competitive bidding
Besides drawing a prison term, he was also perpetually banned from public office.
In a 22-page decision, the court agreed with state prosecutors’ contention that Bendaña “was partial or bias [sic]” in favor of the Amellar Solutions, which was awarded the project through direct contracting.
It said he signed the agreement 18 days before the treasurer certified the availability of funds. The decision also noted the lack of an ordinance appropriating the project cost.
The court also gave weight to the prosecution’s finding that the Technical Evaluation Committee on Computerization, created on Oct. 22, 2003, to identify the information technology requirements and draw up cost estimates, was able to submit a report on the very same day.
“The only conclusion that can be gathered is that the report was already prepared before the establishment of the TECC,” the decision read.
Besides the disregard for the funding requirement and the irregularity in the submission of the TECC report, the court also found the appointment of Bendaña’s executive assistant to head the group to be indicative of bad faith.
“There was an intent to ensure the Amellar Solutions will be favored in the TECC’s recommendation,” the court said, adding that compliance with the requirements were “mere steps to lend credence of legality in the transaction.” SFM
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