THE PHILIPPINES’ anti-graft court has convicted a retired navy admiral of graft and malversation for approving anomalous medical supply procurements from 1990 to 1991.
In a 586-page decision dated Sept. 16, Sandiganbayan Third Division said former Philippine Navy Rear Admiral Gilmer B. Batestil showed intent to “defraud the government” through falsification of documents.
“Here the acts of accused Betestil in signing the subject purchase orders and disbursement vouchers checks show the concurrence of will and unity of purpose between the said accused in defrauding the government,” according to the ruling penned by Associate Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang.
The court sentenced him to 12-18 years in prison for the malversation charges and 6-10 years for graft. The officer was also ordered to pay a fine worth P17.09 million.
The ex-navy officer had testified that he was in charge of signing the purchase orders.
Mr. Batestil did not immediately reply to a Facebook Messenger chat seeking comment.
The case stemmed from a report by state auditors that flagged the irregular procurements.
The owner of the private supplier was also ordered to pay a fine of P7.7 million for taking state funds by falsifying documents to make it appear that there were deliveries of the medical supplies.
The court added that the private firm did not have a license as a medical supply distributor and retailer.
“The truth, however, is that there were no deliveries at all,” the Sandiganbayan said.
Under the law governing the Sandiganbayan, decisions may be appealed through a petition for reconsideration or elevated to the Supreme Court. — John Victor D. Ordoñez