Ex-Cebu town mayor Radaza cleared of graft rap
Former Lapu-Lapu City mayor Arturo Radaza welcomed his acquittal in a graft case involving the alleged purchase of substandard and overpriced computers in 2005.
“Truth and justice will always prevail over allegations that are unfounded,” said Radaza.
The Sandiganbayan also acquitted former Bids and Awards Committee member now incumbent assistant city attorney Michael Dignos; former city administrator Teodulo Ybañez; Victoria Andoy; Elena Pacaldo; Engr. Rogelio Veloso who headed the Technical Working Group; his members Dr. Cipriano Flores, Engr. Sharon Baguio, Buenaventura Igot, Jerico Mercado and Engr. Maribeth Soroño; Marita Guiao; Cleofe Solis; Leandro Dante; Ernesto Imbong; Rogaciano Tampus; and computer supplier and manager of Kein Enterprises, Jennet Valencia.
In a 47-page decision dated October 18, The anti-graft court 7th Division ruled that the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the respondents violated Section 3 (e) of RA 3019 or the Anti-Corrupt and Practices Act. (https://www.philstar.com/the-freeman/cebu-news/2019/10/19/1961496/16-others-also-acquitted-sandigan-clears-radaza-graft#qjiRzgARZFiVhL08.99)
“The prosecution failed to prove unwarranted benefits to Kein Enterprises, which resulted in undue injury to the government, whether from the deviation from the specifications from the purchase order or from overpricing,” the court said.
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by businessman Efrain Pelaez who alleged that the accused caused undue injury to the city government and gave unwarranted benefits to Kein Enterprises with the “anomalous” purchase of 470 units of computers amounting to P23.476 million.
The computers were intended for the public high schools in the city.
The Sandiganbayan ruled that overpricing was not sufficiently established and that the Commission on Audit (COA) did not flag the project as overpriced.
“Still, in order to ascertain whether the injury suffered by the government, or the benefit received by Kein Enterprises, if any, was substantial or negligible, this Court would need a point of reference – the actual price of the exact items in the Purchase Order, which was not proven,” the decision also read.
There is also no manifest partiality and unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to Kein Enterprises in its selection as supplier of the computer sets, it said.
The court added that the deficiencies found after the first inspection have been rectified despite the prosecution’s insistence that only 29 units were repaired by Kein Enterprises.
The prosecution presented no independent evidence of the computers’ defects or that these defects actually remained after the COA reported that they have already been rectified, the decision stated.