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Ex-NPDC exec Habal pleads guilty over shady contract approval, ordered to pay P10K fine

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Former National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) acting executive director Salome Tiongco Habal has been fined with P10,000 after pleading guilty over the approval of a P12-63 million contract.

The Sandiganbayan imposed the fine after Habal decided to undergo a plea bargain deal and be charged with lesser offenses which are two counts of violating the code of conduct for government officials and employees.

She was initially charged with graft which carries heavier penalties.

“After evaluating the facts of the case and the manifestations by the parties to the case, the court hereby allows the parties to enter into plea bargaining wherein accused Habal, with the consent of the Ombudsman, through the [Office of the Special Prosecutor], is allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offense,” read the anti-graft court’s decision.

The case stemmed from the P12.63 million contract awarded to Variance Protective and Security Agency for services from July 2009 to February 2010.

However, the security firm was found not entitled to receive the payment due to irregularities including the lack of a required public bidding.

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