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Former mayor convicted for overpriced computer

Manila, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan has convicted a former mayor for the overpriced purchase of a computer for P120,000 in 1998.

The Sandiganbayan Second Division found Salvador Perez, former mayor of San Manuel, Pangasinan, guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violating Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act (RA) 3019.

In a 26-page decision penned by Justice Oscar Herrera Jr. and concurred in by Justices Teresita Diaz-Baldos and Napoleon Inoturan, the anti-graft court sentenced Perez “to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of six years and one month, as minimum, to eight years as maximum.”

The Sandiganbayan also permanently disqualified Salvador from holding public office.

But the Sandiganbayan granted provisional liberty to Reyes through bail as he appealed the decision.

In 1998, Salvador, who was mayor of San Manuel at that time, purchased a lone desktop computer from Mobile Link Enterprises/ Starlet Sales Center for P120,000, an acquisition by personal canvass that was against the law and caused damage and prejudice to the municipality.

“After a careful study, the court finds that the prosecution has established the guilt of accused Perez of the crime charged,” the Sandiganbayan said.

The court cited that the Commission on Audit (CoA) conducted an audit in 2000 and discovered that a branded computer with similar specifications only cost P49,000 compared to the one bought that was a cloned unit.

“In fact, the irregularity of it all was highlighted by the purchase from Starlet Sales Center which did not submit any quotation,” the Sandiganbayan said.

Though Perez testified that there were biddings done but could not present any documents that he claimed was submitted to the CoA, the graft court said “the assertion that two failed public biddings preceded the acquisition by personal canvass of the computer purchased from Starlet Sales Center appears to be an afterthought.”

“A review of the records yields no such claim was ever made during preliminary investigation of the case,” the graft court stressed. (Jeffrey G. Damicog)

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