MANILA – The Sandiganbayan has issued a hold departure order against Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella and two others over the alleged overpricing of computer units using pork barrel funds.
The anti-graft court's 4th Division has ordered the Bureau of Immigration to bar Puentevella, who served as Bacolod congressman from 2001 to 2010; Victorino Tirol Jr., former regional director of the Department of Education in Region 6; and Jessie Garcia, chairman of the board of Merryland Publishing Corp., the supplier of the information technology (IT) packages.
A complaint was earlier filed against the three for the procurement of computers worth more than P25 million from 2002 to 2007 using Puentevella's Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) when he was a congressman.
The complaint said the purchase of the IT packages in question did not undergo proper bidding. The 97 IT packages, priced at P400,000 each, had been found to be overpriced. Some did not function while the others did not even reach the beneficiaries.
Puentevella's case is believed to be the first pork barrel-related case to be elevated to the Sandiganbayan since the P10 billion scam involving businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles broke out last year.
The Sandiganbayan has yet to determine whether there is probable cause against Puentevella, Garcia and Tirol. – report from Robert Mano, dzMM