The Sandiganbayan has acquitted a former official of the Department of Education (DepEd) of graft charges in connection with the anomalous awarding of a P17-million contract for the rehabilitation of the Teacher’s Camp in Baguio City in 2008.
In a decision promulgated on Dec. 5, the anti-graft court’s Special Second Division cleared former DepEd assistant secretary Jonathan Malaya of graft.
Sandiganbayan magistrates said the prosecution failed to prove that Malaya acted with partiality in approving the recommendation of the DepEd Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) to award the project to a private company.
“The evidence presented by the prosecution showed that the allegation that accused Malaya acted with bias is untenable,” read the 17-page ruling penned by Associate Justice Samuel Martires.
Associate Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Geraldine Faith Econg concurred with the ruling.
The Office of the Ombudsman charged Malaya with graft in 2011 for approving a BAC resolution recommending the awarding of a P17.159-million deal for the rehabilitation of some areas in Teacher’s Camp to Nicholas Jift Construction.
The contract covered the construction of an amphitheater, hall landscaping as well as construction of two roads, two rotundas and three parking areas.
Malaya, then DepEd assistant secretary for special projects, was designated to head the task force created by then president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to undertake the rehabilitation of the Teacher’s Camp as part of the commemoration of its centennial.
The ombudsman said the contract was awarded to Jift Construction despite its submission of personal checks, which are not acceptable forms of bid security under the Republic Act 9184, the Government Procurement Reform Act.
In its resolution, the Sandiganbayan said Malaya merely performed his duty of reviewing the BAC resolution and the report of the technical consultant for the project.
source: Yahoo News / Philstar