Ex-Department of Public Works and Highways exec convicted of graft

February 07, 2019

A FORMER regional director of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Region 5 was found guilty of graft by the Sandiganbayan over an anomalous car lease contract in 2001.

Eleno Colinares Jr. last November 16  was sentenced to six years in prison for the alleged fraudulent rental contract for a Mitsubishi Pajero worth P362,372.72.

In his Omnibus Motion filed last January 29, Colinares informed the Anti-Graft Court that he was diagnosed with Stage 2 prostate cancer, which requires immediate medical attention.

However, the Sandiganbayan did not grant Colinares’ appeal for provisional liberty for him to undergo treatment for his cancer. Instead, he was ordered committed to the New Bilibid Prisons.

Records showed that while the vehicle lease contract identified Elvin Bautista of Zamboanga City as the supposed owner of the vehicle, it was Colinares who was the real beneficiary of the rental payment while Bautista was only a dummy.

More than half of the amount was found to have been deposited to Colinares’ bank account.

Prosecutors were able to produce a copy of a birth certificate of a “Baby Boy Bautista Colinares” born on May 31, 1965 in Jolo, Sulu to parents Evelyn Reliz Bautista and Eleno Uttoh Colinares.

A Commission on Elections official testified in court that there is a registered voter in Minglanilla, Cebu named Elvin Bautista Colinares with the same birthdate.

A bank officer also testified that a check for P134,836.36 representing rental payment intended for Bautista was deposited into Colinares’ personal account with Metrobank.

Colinares, in his plea, invoked humanitarian grounds, and requested the Anti-Graft Court’s Seventh Division to allow him to be confined at a hospital to get treatment while appealing his conviction.

He also asked for a hospital arrest, where he can serve his prison term while his condition is being attended to.

Prosecutors objected to the defense’s motion, noting absence of proof that the treatment sought is urgent and the medical reports submitted were not recent. They likewise said the signatory was a private doctor, hence the need for verification.

According to the Sandiganbayan, the appeal cannot be granted because jurisprudence says transfer of a convicted person to the NBP is mandatory.

“While the Court fully commiserates with the plight of the accused and acknowledges the urgency of the situation, he must, unfortunately, look elsewhere for relief. As it stands, considering the finality of the judgment of conviction, the Court is without recourse but to order his commitment to the National Penitentiary, Muntinlupa City,” the Sandiganbayan ruling said.