A FORMER Baguio barangay captain and treasurer were slapped with six to eight years jail term over P367,000 worth of fraudulent purchases.
The Sandiganbayan sentenced former Barangay Captain Constancio Danao and former Treasurer Romel Beltran of Barangay Camp 7 after upholding the Baguio City Regional Trial Court (RTC)’s graft conviction of the two executives.
According to the Sandiganbayan, the prosecution were able to prove that Beltran and Danao awarded the contract without a pre-bid conference, posted the notice and invitation to bid instead of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Secretariat, and that the BAC members were not informed of the subject project until the opening of biddings.
“At the outset, it must be emphasized that the uncontroverted evidence on record establishes the bad faith and the illegality in the accused’s actions, and prove, among other things, that accused-appellants Danao and Beltran unduly arrogated upon themselves functions that they fully know to belong to Barangay Camp 7’s BAC, and concluded the procurement and disbursement processes even absent complete authority to do so, and had a plain partiality to award the contract to J&J,” the Sandiganbayan said.
The Sandiganbayan also said that it was “evident” that the two were responsible for the procurement in question beyond their authority, as it was supposed to be the BAC that had the authority to start the process.
The court also said that while BAC authorities eventually signed off on the purchase, the BAC testified to being misled into signing by Danao as they had already signed a Disbursement Voucher and issued a cheque for the P367,000 procurement.
The Sandiganbayan also stated that the barangay in question did not receive the items purchased as the signature of prosecution witness Angelina Ramos was forged on the Inspection and Acceptance Report and List of Recipients. Ramos subsequently filed administrative and criminal cases against both Danao and Beltran before the Office of the Ombudsman over the forgery of her signature.
Danao’s appeal claimed that the prosecution failed to prove guilt as he supposedly did not directly participate in the bidding process and only approved the resolution approving the contract, while Beltran argued that his signature on the voucher and cheque should have presumption of regularity, and that he could not be a part of the BAC as he is not a Sangguniang Barangay member.
However, the Sandiganbayan struck down both arguments.
“Indeed, the accused are not entitled to good faith given the set of facts in this case. It must be emphasized that the accused appellants did not testify to explain or justify their actions,” it said.
“Hence, there is no evidence on which to base any conclusion that they acted in good faith, especially considering the irregularities pointed out by the prosecution witnesses,” it added.