Former Iloilo governor Tupas to be charged for graft
MANILA, Philippines – Former Iloilo Governor Niel Tupas Sr will be facing graft charges before the Sandiganbayan after the Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause that he approved the alleged overpayment of unconsumed electricity worth P4 million ($89,596.76)* in his province in 2007.
On Monday, December 15, the Ombudsman said Tupas entered into a contract with the National Power Corporation, now Green Core Geothermal Incorporated, on September 26, 2007.
The 4-year contract was for an increase in contracted energy from 185,000kWh per month to 400,000kWh per month, in anticipation of the completion of the Iloilo Multi-Purpose Convention Center. The construction of the convention center was, however, stopped in December 2009.
Despite Tupas’ request to reduce the contract energy from 400,000kWh per month to 17,000kWh per month following the center’s non-construction, Green Core only applied the adjustment from June 26, 2010 to December 25, 2011. As a result, P5.88 million ($13,1705.71) was paid to Green Core even if only P1.88 million ($42,091.64) was used by the province.
In a related administrative case, 3 other provincial officials were found guilty of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and Neglect of Duty. Provincial accountant Lyd Tupas, assistant department head Sandra Bionat, and general services department head Ramie Salcedo have been suspended for a year from public service.
“Respondents cannot sweepingly claim that they merely certified the disbursement documents to be valid, proper and legal, because if they really perused those documents they would have found the questionable nature of an electric billing that was unconsumed,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said in the joint resolution. – Natashya Gutierrez/Rappler.com
US$1 = P44.66