It took a long time coming (about 30 years), but the law finally caught up with this erring (now retired) Navy officer and his civilian accomplice.
The Sandiganbayan convicted retired Navy Capt. Gilber Batestil and businesswoman Edna Gianan of graft and malversation of public funds over forged purchases and ghost deliveries of medicines and medical and dental supplies in 1990 and 1991.
The anti-graft court, in a 545-page decision, found Batestil guilty of 20 counts of malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents and 16 counts of graft.
He was sentenced to 12 to 18 years of jail time for the malversation and six to 10 years imprisonment for graft that involves at least P24 million of public funds. Batestil was perpetually disqualified from holding public office as a result of his conviction, the court said.
In its decision, the anti-graft court said Batestil had admitted to the purchase orders (PO) that were prepared during his incumbency as Naval procurement officer under his supervision and control; signing disbursement vouchers (DVs) and releasing payments to the purported suppliers would not have been possible had he not signed them
“It was duly established that accused Batestil allowed the taking of the subject public funds by signing the POs and DVs which resulted in the payment of the items allegedly purchased in the POs and DVs which were never delivered to the Navy,” the court said.
“Furthermore, the attached supporting documents of the purported deliveries of medicines and medical supplies were falsified to make it appear that there were deliveries of the said items when, in truth and fact, no such deliveries of the subject items were made,” the ruling stated.
The court also found Gianan, owner of the firm involved in the ghost deliveries, guilty of malversation after she admitted having received the checks representing the Navy’s payment for the medicines and medical supplies.
“However, the prosecution evidence shows that accused Gianan did not deliver any medicines or medical supplies to the Navy. Despite this non-delivery, she was allowed to take a huge amount of money from the government for its grave damage and prejudice,” the Sandiganbayan said.
The anti-graft court also fined Batestil and Gianan P17 million and P7 million, respectively.