Ex-postmaster general cleared of graft

By Benjamin Pulta

November 29, 2022, 1:44 pm

MANILA – The Sandiganbayan has acquitted former postmaster general Hector Villanueva and his chief executive staff, Juliana Dimalanta, of graft arising from the appointment of a management consultant that ran in conflict with the constitutional prohibition against double compensation.

Villanueva and Dimalanta were charged in 2016 for the appointment of lawyer Antonio Corrado as legal and management consultant from 2007 to 2010 while he was the Assistant Executive Secretary under the Office of the President.

Corrado died while the case was ongoing.

The charges claimed that VIllanueva and Dimalanta allowed Corrado to receive from the Philippine Postal Corporation a total of PHP1.05 million for four years, including salaries, allowances, and reimbursements for hotel and restaurant expenses.

The 42-page decision promulgated Nov. 25 and made public Tuesday said the “evidence presented will show that accused had reason to believe that the same were above board as the same were not questioned by the COA (Commission on Audit) during the earlier years that payments were made.”

The COA did not issue Audit Observation, Notice of Suspension or Notice of Disallowance, the Sandigan noted.

The tribunal said the accused cannot be faulted, considering that the engagement of Corrado as a consultant was “premised on his (ViIlanueva) belief that the latter was only assigned or detailed to the agency and such was authorized by the head of Corrado’s office.”

“Such negates evident bad faith or manifest partiality,“ the Sandigan ruled. “The Court finds that accused Villanueva was not spurred by a corrupt motive or deliberate intent to do wrong.” (PNA)