Bing respects court ruling on Monico IT case but…

Bacolod City political rivals former congressman and mayor Monico Puentevella, left, and incumbent mayor Evelio Leonardia

Bacolod Mayor City Mayor Evelio Leonardia reiterated Wednesday  that he respects the decision of the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division acquitting former congressman and mayor, Monico Puentevella, on the case involving the procurement of alleged overpriced information technology packages.

He believes that his political opponent could not really be innocent of the charge.

“I respect the decision of the court. I respect the decision of the judge and the justices. That is just how it should be,” Leonardia said in a press conference. 

The mayor pointed out that “even in the decision itself, there’s a line there that says they could be acquitted even though their innocence may be questionable.”

Leonardia added that it has been “established as a matter of fact” that the said  computer packages cost P400,000 each.

“Definitely, it was overpriced. It was excessive, it was exorbitant, it was unbelievable,” he said.

In its 34-page decision, the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan stated that there was no malice nor partiality on the part of Puentevella in the procurement of the IT packages.

“Accused Puentevella was not part of the entity that procured the IT packages of way direct contracting,” the ruling said.

Meanwhile, Leonardia defended the city’s spending on the improvement of schools being used as isolation and quarantine facilities for coronavirus disease 2019 patients as well as returning residents.

He reacted to the supposed propaganda of the opposition, questioning why the city government did not construct its own facilities, but opted to utilize the schools instead.

“Our investment, let’s say is up to P20 million, but considering we now  have 1,200 plus beds that is worth the investment. That is cheap (on) a pound-for-pound basis,” the mayor said. – NLG