• Former Iloilo lawmaker faces graft, malverse raps


    The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to file graft and malversation charges against former Iloilo Rep. Judy Syjuco and several officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) for alleged ghost purchase and delivery of cellular phones in 2004.

    The alleged ghost purchase and delivery involved 1,582 units of Nokia 1100 cellular phones amounting to P6,248,900.

    Judy is the wife of Augusto Syjuco, a former chief of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).

    Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said “the confluence of facts and evidence will show that respondents conspired with each other through seemingly separate but collaborative acts to defraud the government of P6,248,900.”

    Morales approved the filing of charges for malversation through falsification and violation of the Anti-Graft Law against Syjuco and DOTC Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Domingo Reyes Jr. and Vice Chairman Elmer Soneja.

    Also facing criminal complaints are BAC members Rebecca Cacatian and Ildefonso Patdu Jr., Legal Officer Geronimo Quintos and Director Venancio Santidad as well as Inspector Marcelo Desiderio Jr. and Technical Inspector Danilo dela Rosa.

    A private respondent, Domingo Samuel Jonathan Ng, owner of West Island Beverages, will also be charged.

    The anti-graft office found that the public respondents facilitated the release of money to Ng even when there was no need to resort to direct contracting.

    Morales said that the Government Procurement Law (Republic Act 9184) explicitly provides that public bidding is the rule and the alternative methods of procurement may be resorted to “only in highly exceptional cases.”

    West Island, the anti-graft office said, did not present a certificate of exclusivity and was not an authorized supplier of cellular phones but was a mere distributor of Smart Value Credits or Smartload.

    “The 1,582 cellular units never existed because they were never delivered,” it said.

    The office also found that the Invoice Receipt for Property contained the lone name and signature of Santa Barbara (Iloilo) Mayor Isabelo Maquino when the beneficiaries on several documents were the eight municipalities of Iloilo’s second district.

    “Records show that Ng is the President of Nation Bank Inc. where respondent Judy Syjuco’s sons and Flame Property Holdings are stockholders. Respondent spouses Syjuco are stockholders of Flame Property Holdings,” it said.


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