Thu. Feb 25th, 2021
(Photo Courtesy: gmanetwork.com)

The Sandiganbayan has convicted for graft a former general manager of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) for facilitating the anomalous purchase of rail fastenings and other various rail items.

In a decision dated January 22, 2021 by the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division, former PNR general manager Manuel Andal was found liable of violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, by entering into a contract with two companies without prior approval from the secretary of the then Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC).

The anti-graft court said Andal violated procurement laws by authorizing the procurement of 170,000 sets of rail fastenings and 50,000 clips and insulators from Pandrol Korea. Also, he authorized the order of 50,000 sets of anti-vandal concrete sleepers from Nikka Trading, both in 2009.

Hence, Andal was found guilty for two counts of graft.

However, Andal contended before the Sandiganbayan that there is a PNR Board Resolution allowing direct contracting, to which the anti-graft court said direct contracting needs the permission of the DOTC secretary.“Accused Andal’s argument that Executive Order (E.O.) No. 423 does not require him to obtain a certification from the DOTC Secretary before signing the contract with Pandrol — nor does it prohibit him from signing the contract without the said Certification — has no merit,” said Fourth Division’s decision, penned by Associate Justice Bayani Jacinto. SOVEREIGNPH

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