Leyte mayor, ex-Capiz gov found guilty of irregular vehicle purchases

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 11 2020 05:10 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan has found incumbent Albuera, Leyte mayor Sixto De La Victoria and former Capiz Governor Vicente Bermejo guilty of purchasing vehicles without public bidding, violating government procurement rules. 

In the decision of the Sandiganbayan 2nd Division promulgated on March 6, 2020, De La Victoria was found guilty of graft and sentenced to imprisonment of 6 to 8 years for the purchase of a Mitsubishi military-type jeep worth P350,000 in 2003.

The court noted that 877 Motors Corporation was awarded the contract through direct contracting and not through the required public bidding, as another company was selling the same vehicle at a lower price.

It was also noted that De La Victoria was given authority by the city council but not enough to justify his direct contracting with 877 Motors.

“Granting that there is a Sangguniang Bayan resolution which authorizes accused De La Victoria to enter into a contract with the dealer or distributors, said power does not include the awarding of the procurement to the said exclusive distributor,” the court said in the decision penned by Associate Justice Lorifel Lacap Pahimna, with the concurrence of Division Chairperson Oscar Herrera, Jr. and Associate Justice Michael Frederick Musngi.

Bermejo, for his part, was only ordered to pay P5,000 as penalty over the irregular purchase of 3 units of Mitsubishi Pajero and 1 unit of Isuzu Elf Manlift truck in 2007 amounting to P1.95 million without public bidding.

In the decision of the Sandiganbayan 6th Division promulgated on Jan. 30, 2020, the plea bargaining agreement between Bermejo and the Office of the Ombudsman was approved “considering the lack of documents pertaining to the acquisition of the subject vehicles.”

Bermejo pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, setting aside the harsher anti-graft law or Republic Act 3019.

The decision was penned by Division Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Karl Miranda and Kevin Narce Vivero.