DoJ starts probe graft raps vs. 2 SC officials, ex-IT consultant

MANILAThe Department of Justice on Wednesday began the preliminary investigation on the graft case filed by lawyer Larry Gadon against two officials and the former information technology (IT) consultant of the Supreme Court (SC).

Gadon, the complainant in the impeachment case against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, also filed complaint against Court Attorney VI of the Office of the Chief Justice and chair of the Legal Technical Working Group, Maria Lourdes Oliveros; Court Attorney VI Michael Ocampo; and former IT consultant Helen Perez-Macasaet for violating R.A. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

During the hearing, Gadon and the respondents did not show up but they were all represented by their respective lawyers.

Only Oliveros and Ocampo's legal counsels submitted their respective counter-affidavits to Assistant State Prosecutor Gilmarie Fe Pacamarra, who gave Perez-Macasaet's lawyer to submit the same until May 9.

In his complaint, Gadon alleged that only two of the eight contracts of service of Macasaet with the SC passed the Bids and Awards Committee while the six others were renewed by Sereno without the knowledge and approval of the Bids and Awards Committee.

The splitting of the contracts was meant to evade competitive bidding in violation of RA 9184. The mode of hiring of respondent Perez-Macasaet was a form of negotiated procurement through direct negotiation instead of undergoing public bidding, Gadon said.

The lawyer also alleged that Macasaet's compensation was PHP100,000 a month under the first contract and PHP250,000 a month in the succeeding contracts, "way beyond" the compensation ceiling set by a circular letter from the Department of Budget and Management.

"By reason of compensation alone, the contracts of service of Perez-Macaset, upon the recommendation and influence of Respondents Oliveros and Ocampo, are manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government," read the complaint.

"As a result," procurement rules "were not complied with," it added.

Macasaet's hiring was also among the allegations in the impeachment case against Sereno. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency