Ex-Iloilo solon denies purchase of ‘ghost’ cellphones
Former Iloilo Representative Judy Syjuco on Saturday denied the alleged ghost purchase of 1,582 units of cellphones, after the Sandiganbayan found probable cause to try her and other transport officials for malversation through falsification and graft.
“What cellphones? I never saw cellphones nor any single centavo from it,” Syjuco said in a statement.
“It is unbelievable for me to conspire and share with eleven other persons the small amount of 6 million pesos,” she added.
In a resolution promulgated Feb. 27, the anti-graft court Third Division said it found probable cause to hold on trial Syjuco and the following officials: Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Domingo Reyes, Jr., BAC Vice-Chairman Elmer Soneja and BAC members Director Rebecca Cacatian, Director Ildefonso Patdu, Jr., Legal Officer Geronimo Quintos and Director Venancio Santidad, DOTC Inspector Marcelo Desiderio, Jr., DOTC Technical Inspector Danilo Dela Rosa, storekeeper Antonio Cruz, and Domingo Samuel Jonathan Ng, owner of West Island Beverages Distributor (West Island).
The Sandiganbayan said the records in the case showed that the accused are “probably guilty” of the crime.
“Funds for it were to come from realignments of savings from DOTC, but Secretary Leandro Mendoza could not finish these realignments before end of the year 2004. Hence, the Saros (special allotment release orders) expired at end of December 31, 2004. So, that was the end of it for me,” Syjuco explained.
“DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza [has] also died with the dead Saros. He could have testified that i never got any cell phones,” she added.
In 2004, Syjuco wrote to the late Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza to procure directly with West Island 1,582 units of Nokia 1100 phone kits at P3,950 per unit amounting to a total of P6,248,900.
But the Ombudsman found that there was no delivery of the said phone kits, the records showed.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales in 2015 approved the filing of malversation and graft charges against the Syjuco and officials, the court then ordered the issuance of an arrest warrant except for Syjuco, who had posted bail. IDL
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