THE Office of the Ombudsman has obtained the conviction of six officials from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) who were meted out 10 to 20 years imprisonment over the P5-million vehicle repair scam.
Found guilty of estafa through falsification of documents were Director III Burt Favorito, Officer-in-Charge Assistant Director Florendo Arias, Chief Maximo Borje, Equipment Inspector Rolando Castillo, Chief Erdito Quarto and Storekeeper Felipe San Jose.
Also sentenced was Conchita Dela Cruz, owner of DEB Auto Repair Shop and Parts Supply Corp.
The six were found guilty of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for conspiring to steal funds from the government amounting to P5,166,539.00 facilitated through ghost repairs of the agency’s service vehicles.
Aside from the jail term, the Sandiganbayan also slapped respondents with the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office and ordered them to indemnify the government the amount of P5,166,539.00 as civil liability.
Ombudsman prosecutors presented evidence to prove that from March to December 2001, the DPWH paid millions of pesos for 274 transactions for the repair of 39 service vehicles.
The Sandiganbayan gave credence to the prosecution’s evidence and ruled that the repairs were not urgent in nature nor were they absolutely necessary and exceptionally urgent to prevent immediate danger to, or loss of, life and/or property, or avoid detriment to the public service.
Besides, the accused resorted to splitting of contracts to circumvent prescribed procurement limitations and the supporting documents were falsified in order to support the issuance of disbursement vouchers.
The court stated that the reimbursements “were actually false claims that formed part of sinister schemes to steal government funds.”