Sandiganbayan clears Samar solon of graft, malversation raps

THE Sandiganbayan cleared  a Visayan lawmaker of graft and malversation charges in connection with the alleged anomalous purchase of overpriced medical and dental supplies worth P69 million in 2007.

The Sandiganbayan said the prosecution panel failed to prove the guilt of Samar Rep. Milagrosa Tan.

The Court said there was no proof that the contract between Zybermed and Samar province was disadvantageous to the government.

It added that the prosecution failed to compare the prices between Zybermed and other potential suppliers.

Also exonerated from the charges were Roselyn Larce, Bienvenido Sabenecio Jr., Francasio Detosil, Ariel Yboa, Rolando Montejo, and George Abrina.

The Sandiganbayan ordered the release of the accused bail bonds and directed the Bureau of Immigration to remove them from the hold departure list.

Court records showed that Tan allegedly took advantage of her position as provincial governor when she purchased various drugs, medicines, and dental supplies from Zybermed Medi Pharma owned by private respondent Roselyn Larce between March 28 and August 21, 2007.

According to the prosecution, Zybermed, a Pasig City-based business, was not licensed to operate a business in Catbalogan City.

A report from the Commission on Audit also showed that the purchase from Zybermed was “unnecessary and non-responsive to the exigencies of the service.”

“There is no evidence that the drugs and medicines purchased were overvalued nor was there any showing of the accepted, appropriate or standard prices for the items. The Court cannot merely speculate,” the ruling read.

It also noted that the purchased supplies were successfully delivered and distributed to the constituents of Tan as she followed the regular bidding process for the procurement.