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Sandiganbayan sends two Air Force officers to jail

By NEWSBREAK

They sold generators worth P1.2 million without authority from the defense secretary

MANILA – The Sandiganbayan, in a ruling promulgated on May 18, sent two Philippine Air Force (PAF) officers behind bars for malversation of public funds.

The Sandiganbayan

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third division, headed by Justice Francisco Villaruz, sentenced Brig. Gen. Vladimir Binondo Delos Trino and Maj. Antonio Garcia to a maximum of 17 years in prison for allowing the illegal sale of four generators worth P1.2 million in 2002. The court found that the two oversaw the sale of these government properties without the benefit of public bidding, selling them to businessman Antonio Ularte for only P800,000.

The two were also ordered to pay P1.2 million jointly and were also perpetually disqualifed from holding public office.

The victory was bittersweet, however, because the others who were involved in the illegal sale have yet to be tracked down by the authorities. These are Ularte, who represented the private firm Eduard Enterprises and Engr. Dante Senen, supply accountable officer of the Military Supply Unit-Cebu. The court has ordered their cases to be archived.

The decision was promulgated two weeks after the Sandiganbayan second division approved a plea bargain agreement that cleared another AFP official, former military comptroller Carlos Garcia, of plunder in exchange for turning over P135 million worth of properties to the government and pleading guilty to lesser offenses of money laundering and direct bribery.

Lack of resources

What led Delos Trino to allow such transaction? It was PAF’s lack of funds.

Delos Trino, commander of the 2nd Tactical Operations Wing, said that he thought of selling the four unserviceable generators because he received a directive from then commanding general Lt. Gen. Benjamin Defensor in September 2002 to look for other sources of funds for the Philippine Air Force, which was facing budgetary problems.

Delos Trino said he asked Garcia, who was squadron commander then of the 564th Supply Squadron, to come up with a quotation and to look for parties that may be interested in purchasing the four generators. Garcia reported to him that the generators could be priced at P1.2 million.

The wing commander said he was surprised to find out three months later that Garcia had already disposed of the equipment. Delos Trino said that he reprimanded Garcia because only the secretary of the Department of National Defense has the authority to dispose of items that are worth P500,000 and up. Delos Trino added that he had reported Garcia to the commanding general.

Delos Trino tried to wash his hands off the release of the generators, saying that while he was accountable for the properties in Mactan Air Base, he could not check on the four generators because these have already been turned over to the Military Supply Point.

Delos Trino, however, later admitted that the generators were still part of his responsibility.

No turning

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on the ‘boss’

The case is quite telling of how culture in the military invites cover-ups and malfeasance.

No one blew the whistle on Delos Trino because he was a high-ranking officer. Garcia knew that Delos Trino had no authority to dispose of the generators, but did not question him nonetheless because the latter was his superior.

On the other hand, 1st Lt. Felix Montanez Jr., one of the witnesses, testified before the court that “when orders from higher-ranking officers to their subordinates were considered standard operating procedure, these would no longer require clearance from the former.” Montanez was acting squadron commander of the 563rd Civil Engineering Squadron at that time and issued a certification that the four generators had been released.

Contrary to what Delos Trino said that he knew only of the transaction after it was completed, Garcia said the former was hands on during the disposal of the four generators. He said that the wing commander accommodated Ularte’s request for a meeting on Dec.13, 2002. Garcia added that he and Senen were present in the meeting, where Ularte gave Delos Trino P800,000 in cash for the generators.

Garcia, who admitted that he did not undergo training on the handling of supplies during his term as squadron commander, issued a temporary receipt upon the order of Delos Trino. He said that he previously received and disbursed supplies without issuing receipts.

Garcia also prepared a Tally Out sheet, a document that requires the latter’s signature before any property may be taken out of the Mactan Base. Garcia said he believed these transactions were legal because Delos Trino ordered them in the first place.

He did not say anything, however, after Delos Trino gave him P20,000, which came from the P800,000-payment for the four generators. Garcia claimed he returned the money minutes after Delos Trino “shoved it inside his pocket,” but the court was not convinced.

In the decision penned by Justice Alex Quiroz, the Court said that Garcia returned the money, it seemed, as an “afterthought” because he did not mention it in his sworn statement.

Apart from Villaruz and

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Quiroz, the other member of the 3rd Division is Justice Samuel Martires. – Newsbreak


CATEGORY: Institutions, Justice & Human Rights, Justice System, Sectors, The Judiciary
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  1. small fishes were just the one being caught and punished…

  2. small time…

  3. …i agree that they should’ve followed the rules. but common’,
    what is Php 1.2M versus Garcia’s more than Php 300M pesos?!? only proves – PERA PERA lang hustisya s Pilipinas. u got the money, they’ll let u in on a plea bargain; ur a nobody, u rot in jail. plain and simple.

  4. tsk, tsk, tsk.. malversing P1.2 M worth of govt. property makes them liable for 17 years in prison. plundering the country of some P300 M, slap in the hand…. “what a travesty of justice”.

    only in the philippines.

  5. ralph justo says:

    ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES. SMALL AMOUNT COMPARED TO GEN. GARCIA. WHAT IS THE RATIO OF 1.2m COMPARED TO MORE THAN 333m? STILL THE GENERAL CAN MAY APPEAL FOR A PLEA BARGAIN AGREEMENT WITH THE OMBUDSMAN FIRST AND NOW WITH THE SANDIGANBAYAN? ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES?

  6. …this kind of event is the reason why all of us small people never get the chance to progress or improve,despite how faithful we are to our studies or profession, why millions of parents didn’t have anything descent to fed their children, why crimes proliferates almost everywhere, why many armed rebel groups exists, and this is the very reason why until now many Filipinos were scattered around the globe,despite all odds just to earn hardly for their families….i am a police officer in Mindanao, i turned my back from my engineering profession just to join the police force and be of help to my countrymen. But it saddened me so much to witness personally how greedy and corrupt indeed the people in almost all branches of the government…The LAW of the LAND is FUTILE, at least not to the poor. Our CONSTITUTION virtually becomes USELESS. The MILITARY, POLICE and DEPT-ED poor personnel were HOMELESS and LOW MORALE, while the GENERALS and CABINET SECRETARIES enjoys a showcase of MANSIONS and while the REBELS are better arming themselves. Our DOCTORS and NURSES are fleeing the country leaving behind the FEW who values MONEY more than LIFE. The PEOPLE endures a very POOR SOCIAL SERVICES while our ELECTED GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS live like GODS…As one of the POOR POLICE OFFICER of the PHILIPPINES, i SALUTE those who keeps their faith and idealism and continued to live honestly…But i CONDEMN THOSE SHAMELESS, CROOKED AND CORRUPT GOVERNMENT OFFICILAS!!!!!!….AND THEIR ARROGANT FAMILY MEMBERS WHO SHAMELESSLY LIVE LIKE PRINCE AND PRINCES FROM THE MONEY THEIR RESPECTABLE FATHERS AND MOTHERS STOLEN FROM THE PEOPLE…To my fellow police officers around the country, to the young and fresh in the service and to those who are about to enter, i challenge you to keep your principles, ideals and convictions. Be a GOOD police officer on your own way regardless of how corrupt is your superior. Perform your job with utmost honesty and never allow anybody to corrupt you. Together, in few years time, we can be the NOBLE BREED of the Philippine National Police.

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