Sandigan finds ex-Siquijor town mayor, 4 others guilty of graft

By Benjamin Pulta

December 7, 2023, 7:49 pm

MANILA – The Sandiganbayan has convicted of graft charges former Lazi, Siquijor mayor Orville Fua and four others for their part in the purchase of PHP4.99 million worth of fertilizer in 2004.

The anti-graft court, in its 85-page decision dated Dec. 7, also found guilty town secretary Sue Agnes Castillon, municipal engineer Natalio Jumawan Jr, municipal treasurer Rose Marie Tomogsoc, and private individual Merlyn Lu, a representative of the firm Mangopina Trading, which figured in the transactions.

They were sentenced to a prison term ranging from six to 10 years and barred perpetually from holding public office. 

They were charged for their part in entering into a contract for the town’s purchase of 2,096 bottles of MRG Liquid Fertilizer at PHP1,550 per bottle and 1,258 bags of Del Gro Super Foliar Fertilizers at PHP1,550 per bag for a total of PHP4.99 million after tax.

The transaction had been in violation of Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act. Other charges include the premature issuance of the purchase request, reference to brand names, lack of performance security bond, and lack of proof of the project’s implementation.

"In sum, the court holds that accused Castillon, Jumawan, Tomogsoc and Fua's blatant violations of the applicable procurement laws, rules, and regulations reveal their common criminal design to rig the purported public bidding in this case to unduly favor Mangopina,” the court said. (PNA)