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CAUGMA v.

PEOPLE
G.R. No. 167048, 7 April 2006
On the strength of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 888 authorizing ministers
and heads of government agencies to dispose of their unserviceable equipment
and disposable property through the creation of a Disposal Committee
(Committee), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) created its
own committee. The chairperson of the committee was Marietta T. Caugma
(Caugma). The BFAR had a vessel named “M/V Malasugui”; the Chief of the
Technological Services Division informed BFAR Director Felix R. Gonzales
(Gonzales) that it was time to “condemn the vessel due to old age (27 years).”
The vessel, while docked at the pier in Navotas, sustained leaked on her
forward hull, thus, the BFAR was forced to engage in the services offered by
V/L Shipyard Corporation (Corporation) to two the vessel from the Navotas
pier. In bidding the vessel, it was recommended that the vessel be sold at an
amount not lower than its appraised value, or PhP 86, 917.60. Meanwhile, the
Corporation’s total charges for BFAR amounted to PhP 103,111.40 which
included berthing fees and other expenses that the Corporation incurred for
dry-docking the vessel.
An Invitation to Bid was issued where it was declared that the “bidder
agrees to pay, in addition to the award price, taxes, duties and other costs such
as berthing fees, cost of publication of the bid, etc. and levies which may be
imposed by law (Condition No. 8).” Eddie S. Galler, Jr. (Galler, Jr.), the manager
of the Corporated, interposed a bid for the vessel at PhP 138,900.00 broken
down as: Publication fee (PhP 2,400.00), Berthing fee (PhP 103,111.40), and
BFAR (PhP 33,386.60). Believing that the bid price for the vessel was PhP
138,900.00 and that this amount surpassed the appraised value of the vessel,
the sale of the vessel was awarded to the Corporation. Thereafter, Information
was filled charging Galler, Jr. and Caugma, among others, for violating Section
3(e) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019.
The Sandiganbayan rendered judgement convicting accused Caugma for
the crime charged. The Sandiganbayan concluded that the prosecution proved
beyond reasonable doubt that the Disposal Committee gave unwarranted
advantage and preference to Galler, Jr., causing injury to the government to the
extent of PhP 53,529.00; after deducting the publication fee of PhP 2,400.00
and the berthing fee of PhP 103,111.40, the government realized only the net
amount of PhP 33,388.60, short by PhP 53,529.00 of the appraised value of the
vessel, PhP 86,917.60.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the accused is guilty of the crime charged
HELD:

The essential elements of violation of the provision are as follows: (1) The accused must be a public officer discharging administrative. 3019 must likewise be proven by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt.900. advantage or preference in the discharge of his official.40 thereof was applied to the Bureau’s account by way of set off. (2) He must have acted with manifest partiality. In fact. Undue injury has been interpreted as synonymous to actual damages which is akin to that in civil law. To reiterate.Petition GRANTED.A.529. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of office or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. the BFAR Director declared that the vessel was sold to the Corporation for PhP 138.00 in the sale of the vessel.60 to it in payment of its second bill charged by the Corporation as berthing fees.653. or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits. inter se. there is no evidence on record that. The government receipted the amount “as proceeds of the sale” of the vessel.900. 3019 provides: (e) Causing any undue injury to any party. administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality. before the sale of the vessel was awarded to the Corporation.900.A. the full amount of the bid price which the Corporation remitted to the national treasury was intact. judicial or official functions. . The Prosecution offered no competent and sufficient evidence to prove the actual damages caused to the government. including the government. advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions. or gross inexcusable negligence. evident bad faith. Conspiracy or collusion by and among public officers.00 as payment of its account of PhP 33. It must be stressed that mere bad faith is not enough for on to be liable under the law. and (3) That his action caused any undue injury to any part. as full payment of the vessel. Section 3(e) or R. since the act of bad faith must in the first place be evident.00. The government did not even apply a portion of the PhP 138. after the Corporation had remitted the PhP 138. On the other hand. the government had already remitted the PhP 69. The prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the government lost PhP 53.60 under the first bill. and via private individuals to commit the crime under Section 3(e) of R. PhP 103. including the Government.388. evident bad faith or inexcusable negligence. or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits. Thus.111.00 which accepted and remitted the amount to the national treasury.