A former regional director of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and his wife have been convicted by the Sandiganbayan 1st Division for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act over the accreditation of a competency assessment center in 2010.
TESDA Director for Aklan Edwin Villanueva and his wife Nida were sentenced to imprisonment of six to 10 years, with the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
It was discovered that in 2010, Nida was the in-house competency assessor of TESDA as well as a member of the Board of Directors of Rayborn-Agzam Center (RACE), a private competency assessment center.
Edwin accredited RACE while his wife was serving as TESDA’s assessor for food and beverages and receiving a fee of P250 per candidate she assesses.
In his defense, Edwin said he did not know of his wife’s employment with RACE when it requested for a TESDA endorsement.
“In as much as we presume regularity in the performance of the duties of the Provincial Director, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that Edwin is familiar with the incorporation documents of RACE and was therefore, already aware of his wife’s involvement with RACE, when he gave his endorsement,” the court said in its decision penned by Associate Justice Geraldine Econg, with 1st Division Chairperson Efren Dela Cruz and Associate Justice Edgardo Caldona concurring.
The Ombudsman had argued that Section 3(d) of the anti-graft law provides that it shall be unlawful for any public officer or employee to accept or have any member of his family accept employment in a private enterprise which has pending official business with him during the pendency thereof or within one year after its termination.