The Sandiganbayan has meted out up to 22 years of imprisonment on a mayor in Nueva Vizcaya for graft and malversation.
Mayor Jerry Pasigian of Alfonso Castañeda was found guilty of purchasing a vehicle in 2009 in an anomalous manner.
The anti-graft court’s Fifth Division sentenced Pasigian to six to 15 years of imprisonment for graft, and four to seven years for malversation.
Pasigian was likewise ordered to pay P453,214.19, the depreciated value of the vehicle and disqualified from public office.
Associate Justice Maryann Corpus-Mañalac wrote the decision that was promulgated on Dec. 6. Associate Justice Rafael Lagos, the division chairman, and Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega concurred.
Court records show that Pasigian purchased a model 2003 Nissan Patrol sports utility vehicle for P1.269 million without public bidding.
The Court said it was “highly irregular” for Pasigian to sign the purchase documents, including the specifications of the SUV, to facilitate the direct contracting purchase from a certain Gilbert Arellano.
“Evident is accused’s partiality towards Gilbert Arellano, the owner of the vehicle purchased, since it was only him who could possibly supply the vehicle intended to be purchased to the exclusion of other prospective bidders who may have offered an equivalent item at terms more advantageous to the municipality,” the court said.
Pasigian claimed that direct contracting could be an alternative mode under the Procurement Law. But the court said records showed the purchase is “bereft of any showing that the purchase” falls under the conditions allowed by that law.
The Sandiganbayan also said Pasigian “showed bad faith” when he registered the government vehicle under his name and later attempted to sell it to a certain Be Polig.