Oct 13, 2020 @ 22:23

SC junks graft case versus ex-Corona lawyer after SolGen sides with him instead of Ombudsman

The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed the graft case filed by the Ombudsman against former Pamantasang Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) acting president Jose Roy III, whom the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG) defended.

In a recently-released 13-page decision, the SC 2nd Division granted Roy’s petition to reverse the Ombudsman’s November 9, 2015 resolution finding probable cause to charge him with graft before the Sandiganbayan in connection with anomalies surrounding the purchase of a Starex van worth P1.168-million in 2006.

Roy was one of the lawyers of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial in 2012.

The Commission on Audit (COA) on March 29, 2010 issued a notice of suspension against the purchase, flagging the lack of approval and authorization from the Board of Regents (BOR) and the resort to direct contracting instead of public bidding.

The SC said the elements of manifest partiality, evident bad faith or inexcusable negligence, and undue injury to any party were not established for a case of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act to prosper.

It noted that Roy had no participation in the procurement proceedings and only approved the recommendation of the PLM Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), which actually selected the dealers.

“Despite petitioner’s signature on the BAC Resolution and the Purchase Order, the Court cannot automatically infer malice or fraudulent intent on the former’s part,” read the decision penned by now-retired Associate Justice Andres Reyes, Jr.

Even if Roy were negligent by relying on the acts of the BAC, the SC said it was “mere inadvertence, or simple over-eagerness to proceed with the purchase of the vehicle, or placing too much confidence in the declarations of his subordinates.”

The SC also said there was no showing that the government incurred actual injury in the purchase of the Starex van.

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