Inside Page | Fernan A. Gianan:

Former PCG chief cleared of graft raps

Vice Admiral Rodolfo Diwata Isorena, the Catandunganon who went from the ranks to become commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), has been cleared by the Sandiganbayan of graft charges arising from the alleged splitting of contract involving cellphone loads.

Isorena, along with eight other PCG officers, were accused of seven counts of violation of Sec. 65 of Republic Act 9184, otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform Act, for allegedly splitting one purchase request for the procurement of cellular phone cards into three transactions.

The “shopping” procurements, involving a total of P6 million in cash advances to Special Disbursing Officers, were done eight separate times in 2014, with the cellphone loads bought from two different suppliers in three separate transactions but on three consecutive dates.

The payments to suppliers ranged in amounts from P150,000 to P441,000, just under the P500,000 “shopping” threshold for national government agencies.

In its ruling issued on last Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, the Sandiganbayan said the prosecution was able to establish all elements that constitute the act of splitting of payments for the procurement of cellular cards.

But in considering the charge of conspiracy, the graft court leaned on an earlier ruling of the Ombudsman on the same cases that no conspiracy existed.

Simply because a person in a chain of processing officers happens to sign or initial a voucher as it is going the rounds, it does not necessarily follow that he becomes part of a conspiracy in an illegal scheme,” the Court stressed.

It said that every person who signs or initials documents in the court of their transit through standard operating procedures does not automatically become a conspirator in a crime which transpired at a stage where he had no participation.

His knowledge of the conspiracy and his active and knowing participation therein must be proved by positive evidence,” the Sandiganbayan said, citing a Supreme Court ruling.

As for their individual liability, the Court said that Isorena and three other officers could not be held liable simply because they were the final approving authority of the transaction in question and that the employees/officers who processed the same were under their supervision.

On the other hand, the four other PCG disbursing officers were found guilty and sentenced to suffer imprisonment of six to 10 years and temporary disqualification from public office.

Isorena, who was appointed to the PCG’s highest post in December 2012, is the son of the late Juan Isorena of Pandan and Asuncion Diwata of Magnesia, Virac.

He retired on Oct. 26, 2015 after serving the Coast Guard as commandant for nearly three years.


Last week saw two class suspensions in the capital town of Virac, with the latest issued by the local government on Tuesday morning due to a Yellow rainfall advisory from PAGASA that forecast moderate to heavy rains over Catanduanes for 2-3 hours.

The advisory was issued at 2AM along with a General Flood Warning on severe flooding covering all Bicol provinces except Masbate.

Under DepEd Order No. 37. s. 2022, classes from Kindergarten to Grade 12 are automatically suspended if LGUs are issued with Orange and Red rainfall warning by PAGASA.

In case of a Yellow rainfall warning, it will be the local chief executives who will decide on the cancellation or suspension of classes.

However, the same automatic cancellation occurs if an area is issued a flood warning by PAGASA, which it did early Tuesday morning.


THE NEW SECRETARY. Kevin gets a new secretary. A few days later his wife learns of this this new hire, and so he faces a volley of rapid, suspicious questions.

Emma (Kevin’s wife): “Does your new secretary have nice legs?”

Kevin: “Didn’t quite notice.”

Emma: “What color are her eyes?”

Kevin: “Haven’t had the time to check.”

Emma: “What are the nail polish colors she uses, metallic, gel or neon?”

Kevin: “Not a clue in the world.”

Emma: “Does she have a local accent?”

Kevin: “I barely spoke to her, so don’t know.”

Emma: “How does she dress?”

Kevin: “Very quickly.”

Kevin’s funeral will be held on Tuesday.

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