Sandiganbayan affirms conviction of ex-PNP chief Verzosa, 5 other top cops

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2022 04:37 PM

FILE. Then Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Jesus Verzosa speaks during the press conference at Camp Crame in Quezon Quezon City, suburban Manila, Philippines. September 13, 2010. Photo by val Handumon, EPA
FILE. Then Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Jesus Verzosa speaks during the press conference at Camp Crame in Quezon Quezon City, suburban Manila, Philippines. September 13, 2010. Photo by val Handumon, EPA

The Sandiganbayan 3rd Division has affirmed the conviction of former Philippine National Police chief Jesus Verzosa and 5 other officials in their graft case involving the purchase of P131 million rubber boats and outboard motors in 2008. 

In a decision promulgated on July 19,, the anti-graft court denied the motions for reconsideration filed by Verzosa and his co-accused Benjamin Belarmino, Jefferson Soriano, Luizo Ticman, Villamor Bumanglag, and Romeo Hilomen.

The court said there was “no cogent reason to disturb the assailed decision” promulgated on June 25, 2021, which found the former police officials guilty of violation of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

In his appeal, Verzosa invoked the “Arias doctrine” and good faith by saying that as the national police chief, he was not involved in the nitty-gritty of the procurement process. 

He also stated that he was not a member of the Bids and Awards Committee which determines the eligibility of the suppliers of the rubber boats.

The prosecution countered that Verzosa was indicted in his official capacity as the head of the procuring entity who had the responsibility and discretion on the recommendations of the BAC and effect payments on approved transactions. 

The court however insisted in its ruling that Verzosa should have noticed the financial weakness of the suppliers and the functional incompatibility of the rubber boats and outboard motors.

“Instead, he remained silent, thus, his actions clearly showed manifest partiality,” the court said in the decision penned by Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez, with the concurrence of Presiding Justice and Division Chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Ronald Moreno.

Verzosa and the other former officials were sentenced by the court last year to six to eight years in prison and ordered perpetually disqualified from holding public office. 

Accused Ronald Roderos was acquitted due to insufficiency of evidence while the case as to accused Herold Ubalde was dismissed due to his death.