Graft raps vs ex-Misamis Occidental mayor over fertilizer scam
MANILA, Philippines – A former mayor and other officials in Lopez Jaena town in Misamis Occidental face graft charges due to the alleged anomalous purchase of P1 million worth of fertilizers in 2005.
On Tuesday, February 10, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the filing of graft charges before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan against former mayor Zenaida Azcuna; Bids and Awards Committee members Marietes Bonalos, Aurora Alon, Marcial Lamoste, Homer Lariba and Alicia Penales; and supplier Alberto Aquino of Malayan Pacific Trading Corporation (MPTC).
An audit conducted by the Commission on Audit Region X showed that they allegedly committed violations of the Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act such as:
- Reference to specific brand names
- Lack of public bidding and resort to direct contracting without complying with the requirements of the procurement law
- Delivery of the products prior to the award
- Overpricing by as much as P1,375.00/per liter
- Lack of warranties by the supplier
The Ombudsman also said that then vice mayor Melquides Azcuna, Azcuna's husband, had vigorously endorsed the procured fertilizer to the BAC.
Section 3(e) of RA 3019 prohibits public officials from performing official duties with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable neglect, thereby causing undue injury to the government or any private party; or which would give any party unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference.
Section 3(g) is committed by public officials who enter into contracts or transactions that are manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government regardless whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.
Morales said that "the BAC had ample time to do all what was needed to protect the interest of the LGU, as the procurement was not urgent in nature” yet “it did not examine the product of MPTC through an independent and reliable chemist to verify the certification of MPTC."
In January 2005, Lopez Jaena town received P1 million in funds for the purchase of inorganic liquid fertilizer. It used the fund to procure 666.7 liters of Macro-Micro Foliar fertilizer.
Municipal Accountant Juren Magamay was earlier included in the case, but the complaint against him was dismissed for insufficiency of evidence. – Rappler.com