Ombud dismisses raps vs village officials-A A +A
Monday, October 7, 2013
THE Ombudsman-Visayas has dismissed for lack of probable cause the administrative and criminal complaints filed against a former barangay captain and an incumbent councilman of Barangay Estefania, Bacolod City by two former officials involving the construction of a mini-gym.
The criminal complaint for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act was filed by former Estefania councilmen Ben Cadagat and Sergio Moncera Jr. on August 26, 2011 against former barangay captain Diosdado Valenzuela, councilman Jerry Tingson, as well as Raymund Tongson and Raymund Divinagracia.
Tongson is the owner of St. Raymund Construction Inc., while Divinagracia is an architect.
In their complaint, Cadagat and Moncera alleged that because of the amount involved for the construction of the Estefania mini-gym in 2009, Valenzuela and Tingson became interested in the project that the former barangay captain appointed Tingson as chairman of the committee on infrastructure and at the same time head of the Bids and Awards Committee.
They said that during the August 27, 2009 bidding for the design and estimate of the covered court, Tingson disqualified all the other bidders and awarded the project to C’Zarles Construction and Supply owned by Divinagracia.
They also said that Valenzuela entered into a supplemental agreement with Divinagracia and agreed to pay P200,000 without any bidding and approval from the barangay council.
Divinagracia said he is the attorney-in-fact and not the owner of C’Zarles.
Tingson said the mini-gym project had limited budget and had to be implemented in two phases. Phase l had an approved budget of P2.5 million, and Phase II had P2.2 million.
The complainants claimed that during the bidding on November 2009 for Phase I, Tingson disqualified all the contractors who participated and awarded the project to SRCI. He also implemented the project as project manager and received payment for the materials, labor and other expenses, they said.
The complainants said Tingson made the barangay council believe that the implementation of Phase II need not go through a public bidding as a negotiated bidding is allowed under the law, and awarded the project to SRCI.
In his counter-affidavit, Valenzuela said the complaint is devoid of merit and was purposely filed to harass him.
He said Cadagat ran for barangay captain in 2010 and lost to his wife, Elsie Valenzuela, while Moncera, who ran under the ticket of Cadagat, also lost the elections.
Valenzuela said the construction of the mini-gym was lawful and orderly, while Tingson said the complainants’ claims are a sham and full of deceptions.
Tingson denied having sub-contracted the design of the project, such that he demanded the release of funds, collected payments and acted as project manager.
On the other hand, Tingson pointed out that the complainants were members of the BAC who actively participated not only in the bidding and award of Phase l, but also in directly negotiating the award of Phase l to SRCI by way of negotiated mode of procurement.
He said SRCI was awarded Phase l of the project as a result of a public bidding.
Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Maria Regina Hagad-Fernandez, in her decision dated June 20, said records show that Phase l was the result of competitive bidding; that vis-à-vis Phase II, it has similar scopes of work, contracting capacity.
The amount involved does not exceed the amount in Phase l, no delay was shown and that the original contract was still subsisting.
Hence, the records pertaining to the procurement appears to be in order and unless complainants can show non-compliance of any or all the conditions required under Section 53.4 of the law, the transaction appears to be in order, she said.
Fernandez said: “A careful perusal of the records of the case shows that complainants had not submitted any evidence to prove their allegation, thus, we find no probable cause to charge respondents with violation of Section 3(b) of RA 3019.”
A review of the allegations and evidences submitted by respondents do not clearly establish manifest partiality on their part, particularly that of Tingson, she said.
Complainants claimed that Tingson was partial to C’Zarles and SRCI.
Records, however, show that as regards the bidding of the design and estimate, C’Zarles was the lowest bidder, she added.
Fernandez said: “This Office finds no probable cause to charge respondents with violation of Section 3 (a)(b)(e)(g) and (h) of RA 3019.”
The decision was reviewed by Acting Director Euphemia B. Bacalso and approved by Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol.
Meanwhile, Tingson said he nticipated that the case will be dismissed based on the evidences he presented in his counter-affidavit.
His evidences were based on records that were signed by all members of the barangay council, which includes the accusers, as well as their participation as members of the BAC.
“Because they had signed all the resolutions, so I anticipated that the complaint against us will be dismissed. It was purely political harassment because the complaint was filed before the elections,” Tingson said.
He believes the complaints just wanted to harass him and Valenzuela because at that time, they both belonged to the same party during that time.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 07, 2013.