• Former TESDA official sentenced by Sandiganbayan to 156 years imprisonment
• The official was found guilty of 13 counts of violating R.A. No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
• The ex-TESDA official was likewise banned from holding any public office
The Sandiganbayan, the anti-graft court of the Philippines, has sentenced a former provincial director of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to 156 years imprisonment for 13 counts of violating Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Office of the Ombudsman announced on Wednesday, June 1, the conviction of Felicidad Zurbano, former Cavite TESDA provincial Director. The anti-graft court found her guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating section 3 of R.A no. 3019 and was sentenced to a jail term of up to 12 years for each count.
Rio Araja of The Standard mentioned in an article dated June 2, 2016 that the prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman were able to prove that Zurbano intervened thirteen times in 2003 in her official capacity in the award of supply of materials to CDZ Enterprises; a business owned by her sister.
The former TESDA official has been found to have rigged the procurement process to make sure her sister’s company will be able to submit the lowest price quotations. Zurbano waited for the other bidders to submit their quotations first so that her sister could come up with a lower price quotation.
In its 46-page decision written by Justice Teresita Diaz-Baldos, the Sandiganbayan said: “The bidding process was but a sham since the other participating suppliers had no chance of securing the lowest bid. While it may be argued that the government may have saved a huge amount of money with the grant of the contract to CDZ Enterprises, it did not in any way cure the ills sought to be prevented by R.A. No. 3019, particularly Section 3(h) thereof. After an incisive scrutiny of the facts and evidence, the prosecution was able to discharge its duty to establish the guilty of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.”
Aside from the jail term, Zurbano was also barred by the court from holding any public office.