Ex-Caloocan mayor Echiverri cleared in graft case over drainage project

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2019 02:42 PM

MANILA - The Sandigabayan has acquitted former Caloocan mayor Enrico Echiverri of another graft case, this time involving the 2012 improvement of a drainage system worth P860,450. 

The Office of the Ombudsman accused Echiverri of giving unwarranted benefit to Red Scorpion Construction and Supply for approving the disbursement voucher for the contract to improve the drainage along Hizon Street, Barangay 64, without prior authorization from the city council.

The anti-graft court's Sixth Division noted that the city council belatedly ratified the contract. Graft, it added, is only consummated once undue injury was caused by the actions of the accused. 

The Sandiganbayan dismissed the graft case of Echiverri, as well as the graft and falsification of public documents cases of former city accountant Edna Villanueva and city budget officer Jesusa Garcia. 

"From the prosecution’s evidence, it appears that a public bidding was conducted, and that RSCS offered the lowest bid," read the court's decision promulgated on July 17, 2019. 

"Absent proof of any irregularity, the contract would necessarily have been awarded to RSCS, the lowest bidder,” it said. 

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

The case is one of several infrastructure-related graft cases Echiverri is facing in various divisions of the Sandiganbayan, which are being dismissed one by one. 

The court also ordered the release of the bonds of Echiverri, Centeno and Garcia, as well as the lifting of the hold departure orders against them in relation to the dismissed cases.