Court orders arrest of ex-Muntinlupa mayor

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THE Sandiganbayan’s Second Division has ordered the arrest of former Muntinlupa City Mayor Aldrin San Pedro who was charged with graft along with several others in connection with the allegedly anomalous purchase of trolley bags in 2008.

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The anti-graft court issued the warrants of arrest after it found probable cause to try San Pedro and his co-accused.

In a resolution promulgated on Thursday and made public on Friday, the court denied for lack of merit the motions filed by respondents wherein they sought case dismissal.

“There being probable cause for the issuance of an Order of Arrest against all the accused in this case for violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019, let the corresponding Warrant of Arrest and Hold Departure Order against each of them be immediately issued,” it held.

The ruling was penned by Associate Justice Napoleon Inoturan and concurred in by Associate Justice Teresita Diaz-Baldos, who leads the court’s Second Division, and Associate Justice Michael Frederick Musngi.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed the complaint before the anti-graft court against San Pedro and 11 others in November last year.

It alleged that the respondents gave “unwarranted benefits, advantage and preference to CLMP Trading by causing the issuance of a purchase order in favor of CLMP Trading for the procurement of 40,000 pieces of trolley bags and causing the release of the amount of P22 million.”

The purchase order was issued and the P22 million was released despite the absence of an appropriation for the purchase of the trolley bags which items were not in the city’s 2008 Annual Procurement Plan, according to the charge sheet.

Further, it alleged that the bags were procured without public bidding as required under the law and that CLMP Trading “is not qualified due to legal, technical and financial deficiencies, to the damage and prejudice of the government.”

Likewise named respondents were former Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman
Roberto Bunyi; former BAC Vice-Chairman Michael Racelis; former BAC members Avelino Orellana, Rodolfo Oliquino, Vicente Navarro, Peter Salonga and Sonia Laureta; former Technical Working Group (TWG) Chairman Roderick Espina, and; former TWG members Edwin Suitado, Eduardo Bautista and Glenn Santos.

The office recommended P30,000 bail each for the respondents’ provisional liberty.

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