by Allan Yves Briones
The Sandiganbayan 6th Division denied the motion for leave filed by former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director Augusto Syjuco, Jr. in his graft case involving alleged bidding misconduct.
“After a thorough review of the records of the cases and the evidence submitted by the Prosecution, the Court finds that, if unrebutted, the same is sufficient to support a verdict of guilty,” the anti-graft court stated in a resolution.
In his motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence dated August 26, the former solon alleged that he should not be held criminally liable for the failure of the contractor V.G. Roxas Co., Inc. (VGRCI) to comply with its obligations.
In addition, he claimed that the prosecution failed to identify any specific duty that he violated.
“It is therefore erroneous and misleading for the Prosecution to imply that accused Syjuco had absolute control in the award of the Agreements to VGRCI,” the resolution read.
The prosecution, on the other hand, stated that the documentary and testimonial evidence it presented is sufficient to sustain their case – to which the anti-graft court agreed.
However, the court noted that the decision was without prejudice to Syjuco’s potential decision to file a demurrer to evidence, subject to legal consequences.
A demurrer to evidence is tantamount to a dismissal of the case.
Syjuco and six others, being members of the Bids and Awards Committee, were charged with graft over three contracts entered by TESDA with VGRCI for the procurement of various training tools and equipment for the agency’s Ladderized Education Programs.
The state auditing agency flagged the transaction for being “grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government,” with some equipment being overpriced, defective, or of low quality.
Just last August, Syjuco was convicted of fraud for favoring his own non-government organization in a P4.3 million cash grant.
The resolution was written by Associate Justice Karl Miranda, concurred by Division Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez and Associate Justice Kevin Narce Vivero. #