SIX former officials of the National Printing Office (NPO) were exonerated from graft charges for lack of evidence.
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division said that prosecution failed to establish the guilt of accused Emmanuel Andaya, Sylvia Banda, Josefina Samson, Antonio Sillona, Bernadette Lagumen and Ma. Gracia Enriquez.
The six were charged with two counts of graft in connection with subcontracting a P3.6-million printing job to a private firm.
The Office of the Ombudsman accused the NPO officials of granting unwarranted benefits to JI Printers for the negotiated procurement of personalized accountable forms, as requested by the Provincial Treasurer of Cebu.
But according to the Sandiganbayan, the deal was not disadvantageous to the government even if it did not undergo public bidding.
The anti-graft court said that the Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator NPO determined that it cannot accommodate the printing request of the Provincial Treasurer of Cebu, and such evaluation was endorsed to the Technical Working Group (TWG) and the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).
The court said that while the transaction did not undergo public bidding and was done through an emergency procurement, it was not “whimsical” on the part of the accused as the procurement “went through the usual office procedures being observed by the NPO.”
“The prosecution has the duty to prove each and every element of the crime charged in the information to warrant a finding of guilt for the said crime or for any other crime necessarily included therein. In the case at bar, the prosecution failed to establish all the essential elements,” the anti-graft court said.