By Rappler, April 14 2019

Image Credit to GMA News

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan convicted former officials of the Department of Finance (DOF) for multiple counts of graft, sentencing them to 30 years to 70 years of imprisonment.

The anti-graft court found the following people guilty for their fraudulent issuance of tax credit certificates to RA Rodriguez Bus Line in 1997 and 1998:

  1. Uldarico Andutan Jr, former deputy executive director of the DOF-One-Stop Shop Inter-Agency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center (DOF-Center)
  2. Raul de Vera, former officer-in-charge of the DOF-Center’s Net Local Content/Net Value
  3. Rosanna Diala, DOF-Center senior tax specialist
  4. Brandy Marzan, tax specialist

Associate Justice and 7th Division Chairperson Maria Theresa Dolores Gomez Estoesta wrote the 97-page ruling, with the concurrences of Associate Justices Zaldy Trespeses and Georgina Hidalgo.

Andutan and De Vera were convicted of 7 counts each of violation of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The court meted them 6- to 10-year jail terms for each count or a total of 42 to 70 years. The ruling, however, can still be appealed.

Diala was convicted of 5 counts of the same crime, with 30 to 50 years of jail time, while Marzan faces 12 to 20 years of imprisonment.

However, all 4 were acquitted of falsification of public documents.

The cases filed against former finance undersecretary and DOF-Center head Antonio Belicena were ordered archived, after he was found to be suffering from dementia.

Private defendants Ramon Rodriguez and Joseph Cabotaje are still at large. The anti-graft court ordered the issuance of alias warrants against them.

Between June 1998 and May 1998, the accused individuals issued 7 tax credit certificates in favor of RA Rodriguez Bus Line, amounting to P17.834 million.

The certificates, however, were found questionable, as the supporting papers included undated commercial documents with no serial numbers and official receipt numbers, among others. –