By CZARINA NICOLE ONG KI
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William I. Ramirez has been acquitted by the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division of his graft charge involving the reportedly irregular hiring of security guards back in 2008.
The case against his co-accused, President of Excelgard Security and Research Services Inc. President Ma. Flordeliza Macapagal Angel, has been archived because she remains at large.
The two of them were initially slapped with a violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for hiring 95 security guards in addition to the existing 108 security guards back on December 4, 2008.
Ramirez allegedly hired them without authority from the PSC Board and without the conduct of public bidding, which is required under R.A. 6847 or An Act Creating and Establishing the PSC and R.A. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, respectively.
In this case, the anti-graft court acquitted Ramirez because the prosecution was unable to discharge its burden of proving his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
During trial, the defense was able to prove that the PSC Board authorized Ramirez to enter into an Addendum with Excelgard, while the prosecution failed to prove that Board Resolution No. 795(A)-2008 was forged or manufactured.
While the court found that Ramirez indeed gave unwarranted benefit to Excelgard when he skipped the conduct of public bidding, the prosecution still failed to prove how Ramirez acted with evident bad faith, manifest partiality, or gross inexcusable negligence.
The only act proven by the prosecution was that there was lack of public bidding and the failure of the accused to satisfy the need to resort to alternative mode of procurement.
On the other hand, no evidence was adduced to show that Ramirez was moved to conspire with Excelgard with material gain, malice, perverse motive, ill will, or fraud sufficient to meet the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt to establish bad faith.
“We see no clear and deliberate proclivity on the part of the accused Ramirez to unduly favor Excelgard,” the decision stated.
“Undeniably, accused Ramirez may have been guilty of neglect in the performance of his official duties and, as such, he should have exercised more prudence in his dealings. The circumstances, however, fell short of the required type of negligence necessary to convict the accused,” it added.
The 52-page decision was written by Associate Justice Kevin Narce Vivero with the concurrence of Sixth Division Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez and Associate Justice Karl Miranda.