Ombudsman secures conviction of DepEd execs

October 25, 2012 10:35 pm 

By Perfecto Raymundo

MANILA, Oct. 25 — The Office of the Ombudsman has secured the conviction of Venancio R. Nava, former regional director of the Dept. of Education, Culture and Sports Region XI (Davao), now DepEd.

That, after the Sandiganbayan found him guilty of graft stemming from the overpriced purchase of construction materials for a school building in 1991.

In a 39-page ruling written by Associate Justice Cristina Cornejo, the Sandiganbayan's Fourth Division found Nava guilty of violating Section 3(g) of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act".

The Sandiganbayan sentenced Nava to an indeterminate prison term of six years and one month as minimum to eight years as maximum, with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

Concurring in the ruling were Associate Justices Gregory Ong and Jose Hernandez.

Meantime, in two separate graft charges, the Sandiganbayann found Nava and administrative officer Aquilina Granada, the chairperson of the Acceptance and Inspection Committee of the school building project, guilty of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, and sentenced them to each suffer the indeterminate prison term of six years and one month as minimum to eight years as maximum with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

However, the charges against accused Andres Suero and Napoleon Ramos were dismissed due because they have since died.

Meanwhile, accused Jose Burdeos, Antonio Caneza, Pablito Dimaligalig, Raul Retiza, Rodel Valguna and Jesusa Dela Cruz have remained at-large and thus the Sandiganbayan has not acquired jurisdiction over them.

Nava and Granada, together with others who may subsequently be found guilty as conspirators, were ordered to return or to pay solidarily to the government thru the DepEd the amount of more than P2.8 million, representing the sum paid for the labor which was not rendered and materials which were not delivered based on computations by government auditors.

Nava was charged for entering on behalf of the government into contracts with private supplier Giomiche Inc. for the purchase of construction materials without public bidding for the Supplemental Elementary School Building Program Project of DECS, Region XI.

State Auditor Joel Digal testified that they conducted an ocular inspection to verify the physical existence of the building and they found out that the building was not constructed at the project site.

In its ruling, the Sandiganbayan found that there was no public bidding conducted for the construction project and that the accused simulated the procedure and the documents to make it appear that procurement rules were followed.

"What could be better proof of bad faith and manifest partiality in a situation as in these cases, where full payment is made using government funds for work that was not done or for work, though started, was not finished? It is dishonesty, plain and simple, encompassing as it does, bad faith," the ruling said. (PNA)



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