Ex-Batangas mayor convicted over P8.1M computerization project
20 March 2017
The former mayor of Lemery, Batangas, Raul Bendaña, was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) and was ordered sentenced to six to 10 years imprisonment with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
In a 22-page Decision, the Sandiganbayan found that Bendaña entered into an anomalous contract with Amellar Solutions in 2004 when he facilitated the approval of the computerization project for the municipality’s Revenue Generation System.
Ombudsman prosecutors proved that no public bidding was conducted and that undue preference and advantage was extended by Bendaña when he directly chose to award the project to Amellar Solutions. It was also proved that the accused approved the project, with a budget of P8,188,737.00, despite the absence of approval from the Sanguniang Bayan (SB) and lack of certificate of availability of funds. Records also show that the accused accepted the deliverables of the software for the project on 04 October 2004, or two days before an ordinance appropriating budget for the computerization project was passed by the SB on 06 October 2004.
Prosecutors highlighted the results of the post-audit report of the Commission on Audit observing the irregular procurement of the service provider as prejudicial to the interest of the municipality. Eventually, a Notice of Disallowance was issued by the COA in 2005 for anomalous transaction.
Under Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, public officials are prohibited from causing any undue injury to any party, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.###