• P8-M ‘ghost’ gears hurl 2 behind bars

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    THE Supreme Court (SC) affirmed the graft conviction of two Philippine National Police (PNP) officials in connection with the ghost purchase of combat clothing and equipment amounting to P8 million in 1992.

    In a full court decision, the tribunal held that the Sandiganbayan was right when it convicted petitioners Chief Insp. Virgilio Vinluan and Sr. Police Officer 1 Ramon Lihaylihay and sentenced them to nine years imprisonment.

    The Office of the Ombudsman originally filed graft cases against 10 police officers, but the other accused had already died in the course of the court proceedings.

    The case was filed in 1994 and a reinvestigation was conducted after that but was not completed until after 1998. The trial started only in 2003.

    It was learned that the items were made to appear to have been purchased in 1992 instead of 1991 and were not shown to have been actually received by its intended recipient, the PNP General Services Command.

    Hence, the court held, that in view of petitioners’ concerted action in facilitating the payment of non-existent products, they were found to have acted in evident bad faith, thereby justifying their conviction for the crime charged (violation of the anti-graft law) as well as liability to indemnify the government for the amount expended.

    Jomar Canlas

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