Batangas town mayor in graft raps

March 29, 2019

Graft complaint filed vs Sto. Tomas mayor for allegedly demanding kickbacks.

A GRAFT complaint has been filed against Sto. Tomas, Batangas mayor Edna Sanchez for allegedly demanding kickbacks from a contract for the upgrade of the municipality’s waterworks billing and collection system.

The 11-page complaint for violations of Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act was filed by the general manager of WeDo BPO Inc., an information technology company that delivers strategic sources services that won the contract on January 4, 2010.

The complaint alleged that Sanchez, who ran and lost in her gubernatorial bid in the May 2010 polls, demanded that WeDo turn over to her all the checks they received as payment for the project as she was the one who “facilitated” its approval.

On September 1, 2010, Sanchez allegedly sent her police bodyguard PO2 William Ardaniel to WeDo to receive a BPI check for P1,211,592.82 and P1 million in cash. Ardaniel brought with him an authorization letter from Sanchez along with her postal identification card. Sanchez encashed the check, copies of which were attached to the complaint.

WeDo, in its complaint, recalled that when it advised Sanchez that they only received P4.94 million in payment for the contract from the municipal government in August 2010, the mayor reportedly questioned the amount, saying the project budget was for P5.9 million.

When the company explained to Sanchez that certain taxes were withheld and there was a 10 percent retention amount, the then former mayor demanded that all monies should be turned over to her.

Sanchez allegedly instructed the general manager of the company to release the money in tranches and label the same as “SOP” payments and insisted that her police bodyguard will get the cash on her behalf.

Minus the payables due WeDo and the service fees of the people involved in the project, the company said in its complaint that it advised Sanchez it can only release a check in the net amount of P1,211,592.82.

Sanchez reportedly agreed, but the next day called WeDo again to demand P1 million in cash as payment to Dextral Lending Corp., a lending firm owned by the mayor’s late husband where WeDo was advised by municipal officials to arrange a loan as working capital for the project.

On various days in September 2010, two officials from the municipal hall of Sto. Tomas called up WeDo asking for money to be released to them allegedly “upon (Sanchez’s) instructions.” When the company clarified with Sanchez, she reportedly confirmed that the money must be released.

The complainant attached proofs of receipt for various cash and checks deposited to municipal treasurer Dorothy Malasique (P30,000 in cash) and then municipal accountant Maria Cecilia Principio (P200,000 in cash).

On September 22, Sanchez called up WeDo and said based on the computation of her staff, she was still owed P414,000 and allegedly demanded that the “excess” money from the project be turned over to her as well. The amount was received by Ardaniel on October 1, 2010.