MANILA - The Sandiganbayan has fined former Cagayan De Oro City Water District (COWD) executives P5,000 each after being charged with graft by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with a P193 million water supply contract.
In two separate decisions dated Jan. 24 and 25, the court's 2nd Division sentenced former COWD chairman Francisco Mendez, secretary Raymundo Java; treasurer Sarah Borja and assistant secretary/treasurer Sandy Bass, Jr. guilty of the lesser offense of violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
The four officials were sentenced after they withdrew their pleas of not guilty to graft and upon entering pleas of guilty to the lesser offense.
In 2018, the Office of the Ombudsman, under Conchita Carpio-Morales, found probable cause against the water executives as well as private individuals for the illegally negotiated contract between COWD and Rio Verde Water Consortium, Inc. entered into in 2005.
The court noted that Ombudsman Prosecutor Edgar Martho, now under Ombudsman Samuel Martires, manifested that he is giving consent for and behalf of the prosecution as well as the offended party to the plea of guilty to the lesser offense made by the accused.
The court also ordered the release of the bail bonds of the accused as well as the lifting of the hold departure orders issued against them.