Criminal Law

Ombudsman Indicts Zamboanga del Sur Mayor, Eight Others for Graft

Date: 13 April 2018; Type: Legal News; Source: Philippine News Agency

The Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause to indict Margosatubig, Zamboanga del Sur Mayor Roy Encallado for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) for the anomalous procurement of supplies from Barcelona Spring Farm (BSF) worth P4,112,366.02.

Likewise charged were Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Arwin Alpha; BAC members Alex Villarin, Elvira Emia, Andres Limatoc, and Merlinda Ambaic; Municipal Accountant Eien Maning; National Resource Management Focal Person and Municipal Planning Officer Ludivina Salazar; and Inspection Officer Pilar Locop.

Investigation found that in 2014, the municipality received a P5 million grant from the Department of Agriculture under the Sustainable Income Generating Activity, a sub-project of the Mindanao Rural Development Program funded by the World Bank for the implementation of aquamarine farming projects.

In utilizing the fund, respondents procured fish cages, fingerlings and fish feeds without conducting any public bidding. On 14 April 2016, the Commission on Audit (COA) issued a Notice of Disallowance observing the irregularities in the unjustified resort to the alternative method of Procurement Agent; non-compliance with the requirement of posting the invitations to bid in the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System; and non-imposition of warranty security prescribed under the Government Procurement Reform Act (Republic Act No. 9184).   The COA also found that respondents paid BSF as early as January 2015 even prior to completion of the delivery, inspection and acceptance of the supplies on 20 February 2015. On 06 January 2016, the COA conducted an ocular inspection of the project site and found that no fish cages were installed nor was there any delivery of fingerlings or fish feeds.

“By their glaring failure to comply with the provisions of R.A. No 9184, they gave unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to BSF. Indeed, they awarded the procurement contract to it without the benefit of a fair system in determining the best possible price for the government,” stated the Ombudsman Resolution.

“The payments to BSF would not have been possible if not the concerted acts of respondent Encallado who approved the payments; respondent Maning who certified the documents as complete; respondents Salazar and Locop who signed the Inspection and Acceptance Report; respondent Alpha who signed the Request for Quotations; and respondents Villarin, Emia, Limatoc, and Amaic who signed the BAC resolutions recommending the use of Negotiated Procurement by way of a Procurement Agent and awarding the contracts to BSF,” the Resolution added.

Under Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, public officials are prohibited from causing any undue injury to any party, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.

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