Leonardia, 10 others told to answer Ombud complaint

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014


BACOLOD City Representative Evelio Leonardia along with 10 others were ordered by the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas to answer the complaint on the alleged questionable purchases of P3.4 million-worth of office supplies.

The order was issued by Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol and OIC Evaluation and Investigation Office Jane Aguilar on May 24, 2014.

Eight of the 10 other respondents are department heads during the term of Leonardia as mayor. They are city agriculturist lawyer Goldwin Nifras, city budget officer Luzviminda Treyes, city administrator Dr. Rogelio Balo, assistant city general services officer Nelson Sedillo, city planning and development coordinator Arch. Lemuel Reynaldo, city treasurer Anabelle Badajos, city accountant Eduardo Ravena, and acting public services head Engr. Josephus Cerna.

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The two others are Edwin Tan, proprietor of Wener General Merchandise, and Jose Plomantes, proprietor of Jarvine Enterprises.

There is also an administrative complaint filed against Leonardia, Nifras, Treyes, Balo, Sedillo, Reynaldo, Badajos, Ravena, and Serna.

They were given 10 days to submit their answers after the Ombudsman found enough basis to proceed with the preliminary investigation of the criminal case.

The complaint was filed by former broadcaster Franklin Villanueva in 2008.

Villanueva said Tuesday that the Ombudsman acted on Villanueva’s complaint after six years.

Villanueva alleged that based on the 2008 annual audit report, Wener General Merchandise did not have the eligibility to supply the city of its various needs such as spare parts for Department of Public Services worth P88,475 on November 26, 2007, spare parts for City Mayor's Office worth P145,030 on December 27, 2007, spare parts/motor oil of CMO amounting to P112,460 on April 12, 2007, and purchase of spare parts for CMO worth P50,880.00 on September 11, 2007.

In 2008, Leonardia and the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) continued to award to the said supplier several contracts with the aggregate amounting to P1,415,534, he said.

COA noted that Wener applied for assessment of license and other fees as fabricator on September 21, 2007 days before the scheduled public bidding for garbage receptacle van. Wener did not have the eligibility and does not own any equipment and machinery for fabrication.

Despite all these, the BAC recommended the awarding of P900,000 garbage receptacle van to Wener.

Wener was delayed for 77 days in the delivery of the garbage receptacle van. Despite the delays, Wener was not penalized with liquidated damages worth P27,720.

COA inspected the declared business establishment of Wener purportedly located at BEI building, Barangay 37, Bacolod City.

The barangay captain has certified that there is no such building and Edwin Tan, registered owner of Wener General Merchandise, is not a resident of Barangay 37.

Lawyer Joselito Bayatan, lawyer of Leonardia, said the complaint is black propaganda.

"They are trying to put the congressman in bad light. These cases are seemed endless,” he said.

Bayatan added: "We all know that all these come from the camp of Mayor Monico Puentevella and we can even the name the people who are used to file cases before the Ombudsman after they get an Audit Observation Report from COA, namely Sarah Esguerra, Victor Eduardo, Othello Ramos, Franklin Villanueva and somebody from the media.”

"But we are very strong in our defense because we all know that these are fabricated, manufactured stories and are all there to destroy the image of the honorable Leonardia," he said

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 09, 2014.

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