Solon beats multiple graft raps over medical, dental supplies

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 29 2019 04:34 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 1st Division acquitted Friday Samar 2nd District Rep. Milagrosa Tan of 8 graft and 5 malversation cases involving allegedly overpriced medical and dental supplies worth P69 million purchase in 2007 when she was provincial governor.

Also cleared by the anti-graft court are then provincial officers Bienvenido Sabenecio Jr., Francasio Detosil, Ariel Yboa, Rolando Montejo, and George Abrina, as well as private respondent and Zybermed Medi Pharma proprietor Roselyn Larce.

In the informations filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, “extravagant purchases of drugs and medicines” were made by the provincial government using its health fund.

But the anti-graft court said in the decision that the prosecution was not able to prove that the goods were overpriced.

“There is no evidence that the drugs and medicines purchased were overvalued nor was there any showing of the accepted, appropriate or standard prices for the items,” the court said in the decision penned by Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg, with the concurrence of Division Chairperson Efren de la Cruz and Associate Justice Edgardo Caldona.

The court also did not give weight to the notices of disallowance issued by the Commission on Audit, which were presented as prosecution evidence.

The COA said the multi-million purchases were "unnecessary and non-responsive to the exigencies of the service."

"Just because the purchases are considered by the COA to be unnecessary does not necessarily mean that it is openly and shockingly disadvantageous to the government,” the court said.

Just this month, Tan was convicted by the 4th Division of 8 counts of graft for alleged anomalous purchase of emergency supplies worth P16.1 million.