By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
The Sandiganbayan Second Division has affirmed its graft conviction of five former officials of the National Housing Authority (NHA) due to the overpaid construction project in Bacolod City back in September 1992.
Former Visayas Management Office Division Manager Josephine Angsico, Manager Virgilio Dacalos, Regional Project Director Felicisimo Lazarte Jr., Project Management Officer Josephine Espinosa, and Supervising Engineer Noel Lobrido were earlier convicted for violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
They filed their respective motions for reconsideration and alleged that the prosecution failed to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. They urged the anti-graft court to set aside its decision convicting them and issue a new one acquitting them of the crime charged.
On September 1992, the accused officials paid Triad Construction and Development Corporation P1,280,964.20 for the final work accomplishment on the Pahanocoy Sites and Services Project in Bacolod City. However, the actual work accomplishment only amounted to P330,075.76.
Angsico, Dacalos and Lazarte Jr. even said in their MRs that there was reasonable doubt on their guilt since the court’s decision failed to prove with “precise exactness what each of the accused did as their participation in the so-called conspiracy.”
However, the anti-graft court was not swayed by their MRs.
“As earlier resolved, all the elements are present in the instant case. The prosecution’s evidence has proved these allegations beyond reasonable doubt. The instant motions merely reiterated their defenses and these arguments have already been discussed in the assailed decision,” the resolution read.
The three-page resolution was penned by Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna with the concurrence of Chairperson Oscar Herrera Jr. and Associate Justices Georgina Hidalgo and Ronald Moreno.
Because of their guilty verdict, all five accused were sentenced to a minimum of six years and one month imprisonment to a maximum of 10 years with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.