Gadon files criminal raps vs. 4 SC officials, ex-IT consultant

MANILA Lawyer Larry Gadon on Monday filed two separate criminal complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against four officials and the former information technology (IT) consultant of the Supreme Court (SC) whose names were mentioned in the impeachment proceedings before the House of Representatives against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Gadon, who is also the impeachment complainant against the top magistrate, said that he filed a complaint for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Anna-Li Papa-Gombio, Deputy Clerk of Court en banc and chair of the SC's Special Committee on Retirement and Civil Service Benefits, Jocelyn Fabias, Court Attorney VI of the Office of the Chief Justice and chair of the Legal Technical Working Group, Maria Lourdes Oliveros, Sereno's chief judicial officer and another member of her staff, Michael Ocampo, Court Attorney VI and then IT consultant Helen Perez-Macasaet.

Aside from the graft complaint, Gadon accused Oliveros, Ocampo and Macasaet of violating R.A. 3019 and also R.A. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) in connection with the hiring of Macasaet.

The complainant 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 BAC.

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, he stressed.

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," said Gadon.

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

Gadon specifically accused Papa-Gombio and Fabias of violating Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) over the alleged delay in the release of survivorship benefits for widows of judges, one of the charges in the impeachment complaint against Sereno that Gadon filed before the House of Representatives.

Again citing hearings of the House justice committee, he said it was revealed that the "unwarranted and unusual delay" in the survivorship benefits was caused by Papa-Gombio and Fabian, whom he said "did not want" to grant the benefits to the 29 applicants.

It took them two years before they initiated a study on this. Before, when they were not yet involved in the claims and it is being handled by the Office of the Court Administrator, it would only take at most two weeks before the claims would be approved, he said.

He charged Papa-Gombio and Fabian in their capacities as chairpersons of the Supreme Court Special Committee on Retirement and Civil Service Benefits and of the Legal Technical Working Group, respectively.

Gadon's impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice has find probable cause after the House committee on justice overwhelmingly voted, 38-2 to impeach Sereno.

The impeachment complaint contains four grounds, including corruption, culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes.

In almost all of her public appearances and statements of her lawyers, Sereno had urged the House committee on justice and the House of Representatives to file the impeachment complaint against her before the Senate so she could present her evidence and have her day in court.

Gadon, also filed a complaint affidavit against Sereno for violation of Republic Act 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) and Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

He said his complaint was based on certifications submitted by the Office of the Ombudsman, UP, and the Judicial and Bar Council.

Source: Philippine News Agency