Mayor, 7 others told: Serve 90-day penalty-A A +A
Thursday, September 12, 2013
ALOGUINSAN Mayor Cynthia Moreno and seven other town officials were ordered to serve a 90-day suspension for dishonesty and misconduct.
The Sandiganbayan’s First Division directed the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Central Visayas to implement the court’s resolutions imposing the suspension “if it has not yet done so.”
A two-page letter signed by lawyer Estella Teresita Rosete, the Sandiganbayan First Division’s clerk of court, states that the petitions the mayor and the other respondents filed to oppose their suspension “had been resolved with finality.”
She referred to a Supreme Court (SC) ruling last March 19, 2013.
Rosete wrote the letter to answer an inquiry of former Aloguinsan councilor Felimon Georsua Jr., who had sued Moreno and the seven other town officials in 2007.
In a phone interview, Moreno begged off from giving her statement until she receives a copy of the Sandiganbayan’s letter.
Georsua alleged that the town officials procured aluminum composite panels, or ACP, for P1.19 million without public bidding. These were supposed to be used to clad the new municipal building.
The suspension also covers Pepito Manguilimotan, municipal registrar and concurrent bids and awards committee (BAC) chairman; Nonela Villegas, municipal budget officer; Marilyn Flordeliza, municipal agricultural officer; John Lim, municipal assessor; Orven Nengasca, municipal engineer and property officer; and utility workers Emilia Luz Celis and Gertrudes Ababon, who are both BAC members.
Rosete also wrote that a copy of the SC ruling has been sent to the Department of Interior and Local Government, which is supposed to implement the suspension.
The resolutions ordering the suspension of the eight officials were ordered last July 29, 2011 and Jan. 18, 2012.
The anti-graft court also directed the DILG 7 to submit a compliance report in five days on the implementation of the suspension order.
Elias Fernandez, DILG 7 assistant director, told reporters they have not received a copy of the letter from Sandiganbayan.
Once they receive it, Fernandez said, they will enforce the suspension and observe protocol. The letter was dated Aug. 22.
DILG 7 legal officer lawyer Ayesa Nogra said they were “surprised” that journalists
and respondents got a copy of the Sandiganbayan’s letter ahead of them.
Nogra said they will wait for the official copy of the Sandiganbayan’s letter before implementing the suspension.
An investigation by the ombudsman showed that three suppliers joined the bidding for the purchase of the ACP: Diamond Interior, JAH Builders and Maliege G Glass and Aluminum Center.
Diamond won because it reportedly had the lowest bid.
But the ombudsman said there were no documents showing a public bidding was indeed conducted last Aug. 25, 2007, since only Diamond’s bid documents were submitted.
The ombudsman said the town resorted to “direct contracting,” since Diamond is the exclusive distributor of the ACP.
Replying to the charges, the respondents admitted “that public bidding was done later and that the bids and awards committee availed itself of the direct contracting method, as it is allowed by law.”
Graft investigators also noted a disparity in the prices in the approved budget for the bidding and the disbursement voucher, which reflects payments for the materials.
The approved budget for the bidding was P980,000 and the winning bid price was P979,237, the anti-graft office said.
But the payment, as shown in the disbursement voucher, showed a bigger amount of P1,190,037.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 12, 2013.