'Slowly dying' Syjuco, ill wife seek plea bargain with government over PDAF case

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2019 04:30 PM

MANILA - Former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general Augusto Syjuco and his wife former Iloilo 2nd District Rep. Judy Syjuco have filed a motion to plea bargain with the government before the Sandiganbayan 2nd Division, citing their frail health.

The Syjucos told the anti-graft court to allow them to plead guilty to two counts of violation of Presidential Decree 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines or a lower offense instead of continuing with their two cases of graft.

The Syjucos are facing trial for supposedly entering into a disadvantageous contract and causing undue injury to the government by allocating P20 million in Priority Development Assistance Funds to ineligible non-government organization Tagipusuon Cooperative in 2005.

It said Syjuco, who is "nearing" 76, is "slowly dying as he is currently suffering from advanced myelodysplastic syndrome." Lawyer Federico Roxas, in the plea, said this could lead to leukemia if left untreated. 

His wife, meanwhile, "recently suffered a stroke that led to her suffering broken bones on her ribcage." The pleading said she finds it "sorely difficult" to participate in the trial, also citing the cost of litigation. 

Instead of suffering the penalty of imprisonment for the two graft cases, the Syjucos asked if they could be penalized instead with a fine of P1,000 for each count of violation of PD 1445.

They also asked if they may instead be cited for violation of Article 216 of the Revised Penal Code or possession of prohibited interest by a public officer, a lesser offense that carries a fine of P200 to P1,000. 

“Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that the foregoing motion be granted by allowing Mr. and Ms. Syjuco to enter into a plea of guilty to a lower offense in each of the present cases with the respective penalties of fine only as stated above,” Roxas said.