Former PNR general manager convicted for graft

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The Sandiganbayan has convicted for graft a former general manager of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) for facilitating the anomalous purchase of various rail items in 2009.

 

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 the prior and required 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.

 

The anomalous transaction with the two companies resulted in Andal being found guilty for two counts of graft.

 

For his defense, Andal contended that there is a PNR Board Resolution allowing direct contracting, to which the anti-graft court said 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.

 

“The evidence plainly shows that accused Andal entered into the supply contract with Nikka Trading on 12 August 2009, while the PNR Board of Directors met on 10 September 2009 and issued Resolution 52-2009 on said date. Hence, it is clear that accused Andal, as in SB-18-CRM-0511, entered into the said contract despite the lack of authority to do so,” the Sandiganbayan decision added.

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