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Ex-Maguindanao Mayor found guilty in construction materials case

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By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki

The Sandiganbayan Fourth Division has convicted former Maguindanao Governor Datu Sajid Islam Uy Ampatuan of 65 out of 75 criminal charges in connection with the anomalous P38 million purchase of various construction materials back in 2009.

(MANILA BULLETIN)

(MANILA BULLETIN)

Ampatuan was earlier slapped with one graft, one malversation and 73 falsification charges for faking the disbursement of P38,129,117 to Abo Lumberyard and Construction Supply from January 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009, which is a fictitious and non-existent company.

The money was intended for the purchases of construction and lumber materials for the repair of a school building in the province, but in truth, no such purchase was actually made.

Ampatuan was convicted of graft and was sentenced to eight to 12 years imprisonment. He was also found guilty of malversation and sentenced to reclusion perpetua or 40 years imprisonment, and ordered to pay a fine of P35,740,493.

For his falsification charges, he was convicted of 63 counts and acquitted of 10 counts. He was sentenced to imprisonment of six months and one day to eight years for each of the charges.

Ampatuan was given until Monday to post a cash bond for his provisional liberty amounting to P1.58 million.

He was charged together with provincial accountant John Estelito Dollosa Jr., provincial general services office and bids and awards committee (BAC) chairman Kasan Macapendeg, provincial treasurer and BAC member Osmena M. Bandila, provincial administrator and BAC member Norie Unas, provincial engineers and BAC members Datu Ali Abpi Al Haj and Landap Guinaid.

The case against Macapendeg, Guinaid, and Unas was already dismissed. Abpi was convicted alongside Ampatuan for graft and malversation, while Dollosa and Bandila are currently at large.

In the 36-page decision, the anti-graft court negated any “good faith” on the part of Ampatuan and his co-accused because of “the overwhelming number of irregularities in the documents, all of which constitute red flags.”

“Accused Ampatuan’s assertion of good faith is not supported by the weight of the evidence on record,” the court ruled.

“The irregularities enumerated – that at the time he signed the 63 disbursement vouchers, no proof of deliveries were attached thereto and thus, payments were not due to Abo Lumberyard and, the extent of anomalies in the documentation, including the submission of fake receipts to lend some semblance of legitimacy to the said disbursements – are enough to convince the court that accused’s acts were deliberate and planned,” it added.

On the other hand, the anti-graft court cannot hold Ampatuan liable for his 10 other falsification charges because the disbursement vouchers did not contain his signatures.

Abpi was likewise cleared of all falsification charges because his signature did not appear in any of the vouchers “and he has not performed any positive act as far as the preparation of the DVs is concerned,” the decision read.

The decision was penned by Associate Justice Bayani Jacinto with the concurrence of Chairperson Alex Quiroz and Associate Justice Reynaldo Cruz.

Ampatuan was earlier slapped with one graft, one malversation and 73 falsification charges for faking the disbursement of P38,129,117 to Abo Lumberyard and Construction Supply from January 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009, which is a fictitious and non-existent company.
The money was intended for the purchases of construction and lumber materials for the repair of a school building in the province, but in truth, no such purchase was actually made.

Ampatuan was convicted of graft and was sentenced to eight to 12 years imprisonment. He was also found guilty of malversation and sentenced to reclusion perpetua or 40 years imprisonment, and ordered to pay a fine of P35,740,493.

For his falsification charges, he was convicted of 63 counts and acquitted of 10 counts. He was sentenced to imprisonment of six months and one day to eight years for each of the charges.

Ampatuan was given until Monday to post a cash bond for his provisional liberty amounting to P1.58 million.

He was charged together with provincial accountant John Estelito Dollosa Jr., provincial general services office and bids and awards committee (BAC) chairman Kasan Macapendeg, provincial treasurer and BAC member Osmena M. Bandila, provincial administrator and BAC member Norie Unas, provincial engineers and BAC members Datu Ali Abpi Al Haj and Landap Guinaid.

The case against Macapendeg, Guinaid, and Unas was already dismissed. Abpi was convicted alongside Ampatuan for graft and malversation, while Dollosa and Bandila are currently at large.

In the 36-page decision, the anti-graft court negated any “good faith” on the part of Ampatuan and his co-accused because of “the overwhelming number of irregularities in the documents, all of which constitute red flags.”

“Accused Ampatuan’s assertion of good faith is not supported by the weight of the evidence on record,” the court ruled.

“The irregularities enumerated – that at the time he signed the 63 disbursement vouchers, no proof of deliveries were attached thereto and thus, payments were not due to Abo Lumberyard and, the extent of anomalies in the documentation, including the submission of fake receipts to lend some semblance of legitimacy to the said disbursements – are enough to convince the court that accused’s acts were deliberate and planned,” it added.

On the other hand, the anti-graft court cannot hold Ampatuan liable for his 10 other falsification charges because the disbursement vouchers did not contain his signatures.

Abpi was likewise cleared of all falsification charges because his signature did not appear in any of the vouchers “and he has not performed any positive act as far as the preparation of the DVs is concerned,” the decision read.

The decision was penned by Associate Justice Bayani Jacinto with the concurrence of Chairperson Alex Quiroz and Associate Justice Reynaldo Cruz.

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