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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ex-Pasay mayor gets 6 years in jail for graft

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THE Sandiganbayan on Thursday sentenced former Pasay City Mayor Wenceslao “Peewee” Trinidad to a jail term of six years to 10 years for graft for favoring a private company in the  construction of a P489.950-million public market and shopping center in 2004.

In a 30-page decision promulgated on Nov. 26, the First Division found Trinidad and former city councilor Jose Antonio Roxas, “guilty beyond reasonable doubt”  of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Article 237 of the Revised Penal Code.

 The anti-graft court also penalized Trinidad and Roxas with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

 In addition, the court   imposed a fine of P200 each, not the total cost of the project contract, over the failure of the prosecution to show proof that the project was highly disadvantageous to the government.

“For failure of the prosecution to present evidence to establish damage or injury and or the amount thereof suffered by the government as a result of the said procurement of the project, which is already fully operational, no civil liability is assessed against the herein accused in both cases,” the decision read.

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Graft  charges  against two other co-respondents, private individuals Joselito Manabat and Alexander Ramos, were ordered archived since they continued to remain at large.

The graft case arose from the questionable awarding of a P489.950-million contract to Izumo Contractors Inc. on Feb. 4, 2004 for the construction of the Pasay City public market and mall.

Trinidad and Roxas as chairman and member, respectively, of the pre-qualification bids and awards committee, conspired with “manifest partiality and evident bad faith” to award the contract to Izumo Contractors Inc.

In a 33-page resolution, former acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro indicted Trinidad, Roxas, Manabat and Ramos in 2011 in connection with the alleged anomalous bidding procedure for the construction of the public market and mall.

The former mayor issued an invitation to pre-qualify/apply for eligibility and to bid for the construction of the structures to be funded through the issuance of the Pasay City Kaunlaran Bonds.

He, however, requested a newspaper a few days earlier to hold the publication of the invitation pending approval by the city council of an ordinance providing the budget for the project construction.

City Ordinance No. 2864 of 2003 was  enacted authorizing the bond flotation by the city government of close to P500 million.

The project was awarded to Izumo Contractors Inc. as the lowest bidder.  


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