Sandiganbayan upholds graft conviction of Samar governor Milagrosa Tan

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court affirmed the conviction of Samar Governor Milagrosa Tan and provincial administrative officer Rolando Montejo for graft over procurement worth P16.2 million without bidding.  

The Sandiganbayan Fourth Division in March convicted them of 8 counts of graft, and sentenced each of them to 612 to 115 years of imprisonment. They are also permanently disqualified from public office. 

The questionable purchase of equipment, medicine, and supplies was made during Tan's first term as governor from 2001 to 2004. After she maxed out her 3 terms in 2010, she was elected congresswoman of the second district of Samar. After 9 years, she was elected governor again in May 2019. 

The court dismissed Tan and Montejo’s motions for reconsideration, as well as the appeal of Raynaldo Yabut, a private defendant and owner of Raechel Shopper’s Plaza, who was found guilty of two counts of graft and sentenced to jail for 14 to 25 years. 

Yabut’s company was pre-determined as winner in a simulated public bidding for 1,176 electric fans worth P1.635 million. “The court maintains that while it was made to appear that there were competitive public biddings…none was in fact legitimately carried out,” the court said. 

Investigators found the provincial government procured rice, medical supplies, and other emergency items meant for victims of Typhoon Kidang in December 2001. However, the items were found to have been purchased two months ahead of the calamity. 

The 21-page decision was penned by Associate Justice Bayani Jacinto. Associate justices Alex Quiroz and Reynaldo Cruz concurred. – Rappler.com