By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

The Sandiganbayan Second Division has asked the prosecution to verify the alleged death of provincial accountant Maribeth Malaluan, who is the co-accused of former Camarines Norte governor Jesus Onglo Typoco Jr. in his graft case involving the reportedly anomalous purchase of vegetable seeds for the province in 2004.

Typoco and Malaluan, together with assistant provincial treasurer Lorna Agot Coreses, provincial agriculturist Rodolfo Salamero, and general service office officer-in-charge Jose Rene Ruidera, have been slapped with two violations of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Based on court records, Malaluan has remained at-large despite delivery to proper peace officers of a warrant of arrest dated July 27, 2017 issued by the anti-graft court.

In a resolution dated September 20, 2017, the court noted the manifestation of Atty. Adan Marcelo Botor’s stating that Malaluan died of cancer sometime in 2013, and has committed to provide the court with her Death Certificate. However, the case records to this day do not reflect any proof of death.

“Wherefore, the prosecution is given a period of 30 days from receipt of a copy of this resolution within which to verify the alleged death of accused Malaluan and submit a report thereon to the Court,” the resolution dated January 29 read.

It was written by Second Division Chairperson Oscar Herrera Jr. with the concurrence of Associate Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Lorifel Pahimna.

Back on May 13, 2004, Typoco and his co-accused reportedly conspired with one another and acted with “evident bad faith, manifest partiality and gross inexcusable negligence” when they gave unwarranted benefits to MDB Agrovet and General Merchandise (MDB) in the award for the supply of Pilipinas Kaneko vegetable seeds.

They awarded the company P499,917 without undergoing public bidding, which was in violation of R.A. 9184. They also resorted to direct contracting sans a bids and awards company (BAC) resolution recommending that MDB be chosen as the supplier.

Moreover, Typoco and his co-accused issued the purchase request and the purchase order simultaneously on February 24, 2004 even without the memorandum of agreement (MOA) governing the release of funds. They facilitated the payment to MDB “despite knowledge that the transaction was marred with irregularities,” therefore causing undue injury to the government.

On May 14, 2004, they once again awarded the same company with P499,750 and issued the purchase request and purchase order simultaneously on March 11, 2004.