Nakisakay kasi: Sandiganbayan finds ex-Bukidnon mayor guilty of graft over heavy equipment purchase

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By James Hernandez

Former Quezon, Bukidnon mayor and current Councilor Stewart Guadalquiver Leonardo has been found guilty of graft for having piggybacked in the town’s purchase of heavy equipment in 2010.

With this, the Sandiganbayan 4th Division sentenced him to suffer imprisonment ranging from six years and one month up to 10 years.

He was also meted with perpetual disqualification from holding public office and also ordered to reimburse the municipal government the amount of P8,134.80.

The case stemmed from the purchases made by the municipality at an auction at the Subic Freeport Zone in 2010 where it acquired for P6,287,500 four units of surplus dump trucks, 10-wheeler trucks, road grader, one unit cargo truck, one unit brand new vibratory compactor, and one unit surplus bulldozer.

Leonardo also participated in the bidding and was able to get for his personal use a 10-wheeler truck and excavator using the bid book and the P100,000 bid deposit of the municipality.

The bid deposit was deducted from the total price of the equipment purchased by the municipality.

Leonardo also had his equipment shipped and transported together with those procured by the municipality from Subic to his residence in Bukidnon.

“Having been familiar with the purchase price of the trucks and equipment for which he successfully bid during the auction, he cannot feign ignorance of the fact that the bid deposit of P100,000 was actually credited to his personal purchase instead of deducted from the purchase price of the trucks bought by local government unit (LGU) Quezon,” the court stated in its decision.

“His failure to immediately rectify such error strongly indicates his willingness to unjustly enrich himself at the expense of LGU Quezon. This is a clear case of manifest partiality,” it ruled.