Ex-Iloilo lawmaker, 10 others indicted over cellphone deal

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The Sandiganbayan’s Third Division has found basis to try graft and malversation through falsification charges filed against former Iloilo Rep. Judy Syjuco and several others over the allegedly anomalous deal for communications equipment of Municipal Telecenters in Region VI in 2005.

The court set the arraignment for April 19.

Syjuco, who earlier posted bail for her provisional liberty, was charged along with former Department of Transportation and Communications Assistant Secretary for Finance Domingo Reyes Jr., former head of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC); then-DOTC Director III Elmer Soneja, BAC vice chairman; former DOTC Directors III and BAC members Ildefonso Patdu Jr. and Rebecca Cacatian; then-DOTC Director III and BAC provisional member Venancio Santidad; and then-DOTC Legal Officer V and BAC member Geronimo Quintos.

Former-DOTC Management Division member Marcelo Desiderio Jr; ex-DOTC Technical Inspector Danilo dela Rosa and then-DOTC Storekeeper III Antonio Cruz were also indicted.


The Office of the Ombudsman alleged that the respondents awarded the supply contract for 1,582 units of Nokia 1100 cellular phones to West Island Beverages Distributor through its then-proprietor Domingo Ng “without conducting a public bidding and despite West Island/Ng being an unqualified supplier…”

It also alleged that public funds of the DOTC in the amount of P5.96 million was paid “despite non-delivery of said communications equipment, thereby causing undue injury to the government in the aforesaid amount and giving unwarranted benefits, preference or advantage to West Island/Ng.”

The Ombudsman’s office also accused the respondents of malversation of public funds through falsification.

It alleged that the respondents falsified and/or processed the disbursement voucher, inspection report, technical inspection report, certificate of acceptance, invoice receipt for property, purchase order, requisition and issue voucher, quotation/offer, official receipt and related documents “to falsely make it appear that DOTC purchased from West Island” the cellphone units.

Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, who leads the court’s Third Division, penned the ruling, which was concurred in by Associate Justices Sarah Jane Fernandez and Bernelito Fernandez.

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