By Czarina Nicole O. Ong
Former Governor Officer-in-Charge Datu Sajid Islam Uy Ampatuan on Tuesday pleaded not guilty before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to 36 criminal charges involving reportedly anomalous purchase of food supplies back in 2009.
Ampatuan was slapped last May with one count in violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), one count in violation of Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code (malversation of public funds), and 34 counts in violation of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code (falsification).
This involves the anomalous purchase of various food supplies worth P16, 317,559 from Henry Merchandising from February 2 to September 30, 2009. Ampatuan and his co-accused made it appear that the purchase was made even though the company is really non-existent.
His precon has been scheduled on July 18 and 19, while his pretrial will be on August 24.
He also had a scheduled arraignment before the Sixth Division, but it has been reset to September 4 following the pending motion to reset arraignment by his co-accused Datu Ali Abpi, one of the members of the bids and awards committee (BAC).
Their other co-accused include provincial accountant John Estelito Dollosa Jr., bids and awards committee (BAC) members Kasan Macapendeg, Osmena Bandila, Engr. Norie K. Unas, Al Haj, and the late Engr. Landap Guinaid.
The charges before the Sixth Division involve 137 falsification of public documents, four counts of malversation and four counts of graft in connection with the anomalous use of public funds for the repair of school buildings in the province.
The money, amounting to P72,256,140, went to fictitious lumber companies with the use of falsified disbursement vouchers. These fictitious and non-existent companies include Andong Lumberyard and Construction Supply, Nasser Lumberyard and Construction Supply, Ismael Lumberyard and Construction Supply, and Usman Lumberyard and Construction Supply.
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