The Office of the Ombudsman has filed two counts of graft before the Sandiganbayan against former Philippine National Railways (PNR) General Manager Junio Norberto Ragragio and eight other individuals who were then with the PNR over alleged purchase of larch railroad ties in the total amount of about P47.13 million when what the board resolutions and bidding documents required were yakal railroad ties.
Charged along with Ragragio in both cases were then-Division Managers Rosendo Calleja and Abdul Aziz Pangandaman; then-Department Managers Estelito Nierva and Ruben Besmonte; then-Attorney V Neofito Perilla; then-Assistant Department Manager Divina Gracia Dantes; and then-Principal Engineers Cesar Bocanog and Mario Arias.
The Ombudsman’s office alleged in the first charge sheet that the nine accused, “conspiring and confederating with one another,” “g[a]ve unwarranted benefits, preference or undue advantage to Nikka Trading… by purchasing from Nikka Trading 9,090 pcs. Larch wood bridge ties, 428 pcs. Larch wood joint ties and 25 sets Larch wood switch ties in the amount of” about P37,747,832.60 “under Disbursement Voucher (DV) No. ENG-2013-02-283 dated March 4, 2013 and Veterans Bank Check No. 20579 dated April 26, 2013…”
It alleged in the second charge sheet that the nine accused, “conspiring and confederating with one another,” “g[a]ve unwarranted benefits, preference or undue advantage to Nikka Trading…by purchasing from Nikka Trading 1,400 pcs. Larch wood bridge ties, 514 pcs. Larch wood joint ties and 16 sets Larch wood switch ties in the amount of” about P9,387,148.23 “under Disbursement Voucher (DV) No. ENG-2013-02-284 dated March 4, 2013 and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Check No. 8603215 dated March 7, 2013…”
In both charge sheets, the Ombudsman alleged that “accused knew fully well that the Board Resolutions and all bidding documents required yakal wood bridge ties, joint ties and switch ties…”
On Friday (November 10), the cases–which were filed on November 7– were designated by raffle to the Sandiganbayan’s Seventh Division.
The court has the duty of determining whether there is probable cause to order the arrest of those accused and to hold them for trial.
The Ombudsman’s office recommended a total of P60,000 bail for each accused.
It recommended P30,000 bail each in each of the two graft cases.