Ombudsman secures conviction of ex-Davao Oriental town mayor on medicine fraud
MANILA, Dec. 29 (PNA) — The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has secured the conviction of former Baganga, Davao Oriental Mayor Gerry Morales in connection with the procurement of 11,000 pieces of Mebendazole tablets worth P196,900 in 2001.
In a 21-page ruling of the Sandiganbayan, Morales, along with former municipal officials Emeritos Jovilla, Francisco Jimenez and Reymundo Escamillan were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or “the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”
They were sentenced to suffer six years to 10 years’ imprisonment with the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
Morales, et al. were also ordered to indemnify the government the amount of P196,900 as civil liability.
Ombudsman prosecutors have proven during trial that the accused connived with each other and acted with evident bad faith in procuring 110 boxes of de-worming tablets under the guise of an emergency purchase to circumvent the law on competitive public bidding.
The supporting documents for the said transaction were highly questionable as they lacked signatures with the sales invoice issued before the purchase order.
The inconsistent averments of the accused have also pinned them down.
The Sandiganbayan said that “[t]heir inconsistencies lead this Court to believe that they attempted to circumvent the more exacting rules for public bidding by classifying the procurement as an emergency purchase.”
[M]edicine for deworming cannot be, in all honesty, considered as an emergency purchase even in the face of a Sangguniang Bayan Resolution which states that there is a calamity,” the Sandiganbayan added.
Earlier this year, Morales was also convicted by the Sandiganbayan over irregular purchase of oil and grease, sentencing him to six up to 10 years’ imprisonment. (PNA)