MANILA – The Sandiganbayan has affirmed the sentence handed down by the Baguio City Regional Trial Court against two local officials for graft charges.
The anti-graft court Fourth Division upheld the eight-year jail terms of former Barangay Camp 7 chief Constancio Danao and treasurer Romel Beltran.
“The penalty of perpetual disqualification from public office was also correctly imposed,” the tribunal said in the decision dated Jan. 13 and published Tuesday.
The court said it “sees no cogent reason to disturb the findings of the (Baguio City) court which it likewise finds to be in accord with the evidence on record.”
The two were convicted for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with irregularities in the purchase of PHP370,000 worth of warning devices and disaster preparedness equipment in 2015.
The court found the two arrogated upon themselves the function of the bids and awards committee (BAC); concluded the procurement and disbursement processes even if they did not have the authority to do so; and acted with partiality in awarding the contract to supplier J&J Tools and Merchandise.
A witness also said a signature was forged to make it appear that equipment purchased were delivered.
The Ombudsman filed the case against the two in 2017 after finding probable cause in the complaint of village councilors and BAC members Juan Baldo, Marcelina Pucdo, Joel Buena and Susan Habbiling, who said they were informed of the opening of the supposed bids for the procurement but they were not aware of such project.
In May last year, the court also found Beltran guilty of four counts of falsification of public documents and malversation by making false entries in the Summary of Collections and Deposits when he altered remitted amounts, ranging from PHP300 to PHP1,000.
He was likewise sentenced to up to eight years. (PNA)