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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Tesda director guilty of 13 counts of graft

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THE Office of the Ombudsman  on Tuesday  announced the conviction of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s Cavite provincial director Felicidad Zurbano of 13 counts of graft.

Zurbano was sentenced to a jail term of six to 12 years for each count.

She was also meted the accessory penalty of disqualification from holding any public office.

The Ombudsman’s prosecutors were able to show that in 13 separate instances in 2003, Zurbano intervened in her official capacity in the award of supply of materials to CDZ Enterprises, a business owned by her sister. 

She  rigged the procurement process by making sure that CDZ would be able to submit the lowest price quotations by keeping a blank canvass form and waiting for the two other supposed bidders to submit their quotations first so that the favored supplier could come up with the lowest price quotations.

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In a 46-page decision of Justice Teresita Diaz-Baldos, the Sandiganbayan said that “the bidding process was but a sham since the other participating suppliers had no chance of securing the lowest bid. While it may be argued that the government may have saved a huge amount of money with the grant of the contract to CDZ Enterprises, it did not in any way cure the ills sought to be prevented by R.A. No. 3019, particularly Section 3(h) thereof.”

“After an incisive scrutiny of the facts and evidence, the prosecution was able to discharge its duty to establish the guilty of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.”

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