Surigao del Sur city mayor, 12 others sued for graft

MANILA -- The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has ordered the filing before the Sandiganbayan of graft charges against Bislig City, Surigao del Sur Mayor Librado Navarro and 12 others in connection with the alleged anomalous purchase of a hydraulic excavator in 2012 worth PHP14.75 million.

The Ombudsman found probable cause to charge Navarro with one count of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Also facing trial for violation of Section 3 (e) of RA No. 3019 are Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairman CharlitoLerog (City Administrator), and BAC members, namely: City Treasurer Roberto Viduya, City Planning Development Coordinator Aprodecio Alba Jr., General Services Officer Felipe Sabaldan Jr., City Budget Officer-in-Charge (OIC) BelmaLomantas, OIC-City Engineer Lorna Salgado, and City Legal Officer Daisy Ronquillo; Technical Working Group (TWG) members City Accountant Raquel Bautista, Gilbert Abugan, LailaManlucob, and Estefa Mata; and Cesar Ner of RDAK Transport Equipment Inc. (RDAK).

The case stemmed from the questionable purchase by the city government of a Komatsu crawler-type

hydraulic excavator from RDAK on July 18, 2012 worth PHP14.75 million.

The Commission on Audit (COA) Evaluation Report shows that the project was awarded to RDAK despite its non-compliance with the technical specifications concerning the engine power, bucket capacity and operating weight.

COA then issued a Notice of Disallowance on Oct. 23, 2012 due to questionable procurement.

It was also found out that RDAK did not truthfully present the specification of the Komatsu unit in its bid.

In its resolution, the Ombudsman said that there was an apparent manipulation of TWG's Post-Qualification and Evaluation Report to make it appear that RDAK had a responsive bid. By respondents' concerted acts clearly favoring RDAK, they accorded it the benefit, advantage and preference it did not deserve.

Under Section 3(e) of RA 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.

Source: Philippine News Agency