The Sandiganbayan’s Special Third Division convicted former mayor Manuel Tio of Luna, Isabela and former municipal accountant Lolita Cadiz of graft over an allegedly anomalous award of supply contract for a road concreting project in 2008.
In a 30-page decision promulgated on Tuesday, the court found Tio and Cadiz guilty for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and sentenced them to six up to eight years’ imprisonment with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
“In fine, the court finds that accused Tio acted with manifest partiality in awarding the supply contract to Double A [Gravel & Sand] without the requisite public bidding, thereby giving unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to Double A. The c ourt likewise finds that accused Tio and Cadiz acted with gross inexcusable negligence in causing the payment of P2.5 million to Double A despite the incomplete supporting documents, giving unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference in favor of Double A,” the decision said in part.
Tio and Cadiz, who posted bail, may appeal the decision of the court.
During trial, Tio testified that no bidding was conducted because they relied on a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the town and the Isabela provincial government.
Under the MOA, the provincial government would provide P5 million for the road’s construction while the town would implement the road concreting project.
Tio said that the town did not have the funds at the time so a public bidding could not have been conducted and that Double A was the only supplier that agreed to provide the needed materials on credit.
But the court said in part that “[t]he arrangement under the MOA… oes not forego public bidding in the procurement of the materials and supplies.”
It also found “unconvincing” Tio’s claim that Double A was the only supplier that was willing to provide the materials on credit.
The ruling was penned by Associate Justice Sarah Jane Fernandez and concurred in by Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Samuel Martires.