Sandigan convicts ex-QC councilor

PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO

THE SANDIGANBAYAN Sixth Division has convicted a former Quezon City councilor of four counts of graft over the purchase of items for distribution to various barangays in 2008 and 2009 that never reached their intended beneficiaries.

In a 104-page decision promulgated last April 30, the anti-graft court sentenced former District 3 councilor, Dante M. de Guzman, to imprisonment of between six and eight years for each count of graft.

The cases against him stemmed from the failure to distribute tents, raincoats and boots, sports supplies, and food products amounting to P6.4 million.

“Accused De Guzman, through his staff, received the subject items, but the same were not distributed to the intended beneficiaries,” the decision penned by Associate Justice Sarah Jane T. Fernandez and made available online on the Sandiganbayan website read.

Since the subject items could no longer be located or accounted for, the court also ordered Mr. De Guzman to pay back the P6.4 million with an additional 6% interest per year until full payment. 

Mr. De Guzman did not immediately respond to a Facebook Messenger chat seeking comment on the anti-graft court’s decision. Attempts to reach out to him via email failed.

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan acquitted Mr. De Guzman of charges of falsification of public documents and malversation, citing the prosecution’s failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

“The fact that the subject items could not be accounted for was proven, but the prosecution failed to show how accused De Guzman converted the subject items to his personal use,” the decision read.

Associate Justices Karl B. Miranda and Kevin Narce B. Vivero concurred with the order. — Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio