Sandigan sends N. Vizcaya ex-mayor to jail for 8 years

>> Friday, February 19, 2016

Anomalous awarding of projects 

By Jeffrey Damicog

ALFONSO CASTANEDA, Nueva Vizcaya -- The Sandiganbayan Third Division sentenced a former town mayor here to at least eight years imprisonment for anomalous awarding of building projects to his own construction firm in 1999.
In a 60-page decision, the anti-graft court held a special division and found former Alfonso Castaneda Mayor Alfredo Castillo Jr. guilty of violating Section 3(h) of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and for the crime of falsification of public documents under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code (PRC).
For violating RA 3019, Castillo was meted with imprisonment ranging from six years and one month up to 10 years.
Apart from this, he is also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
On the other hand, Castillo and his co-accused, former councilor Andres Camania, were sentenced a jail term of a minimum of two years, four months and one day up to a maximum of eight years and one day.
The decision was penned by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and concurred by Associate Justices Alex Quiroz, Oscar Herrera Jr., and Sarah Jane Fernandez. Associate Justice Samuel Martires had a dissenting opinion.
In its decision, the court said that the prosecution was able to establish that “Castillo was among the incorporators and stockholders of the Lotus Designs as shown by the latter’s AOI (Articles of Incorporation) which was submitted to the (Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).”
“Based on the aforesaid evidence, it is undeniable that accused Castillo, as then chairperson of the PBAC (Pre-Qualification Bids and Awards Committee) of the Municipality of Alfonso Castaneda, awarded the contracts for the construction of the gymnasium and the Lublub-Dibilit Road to Lotus Designs where he is a registered incorporator and stockholder,” read the ruling.
“In doing so, he violated Section 3(h) of R.A. No. 3019 considering that he had a direct financial or pecuniary interest in the contract that he approved as mayor and chairperson of their municipality’s PBAC in favor of Lotus Designs,” the decision stated.
The anti-graft court said bidding documents were prepared and submitted to make it appear that the contract complied with the laws and rules on government procurement.

“Documentary and testimonial evidence indubitably established that no public biddings were conducted,” the court said.


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