THE Office of the Ombudsman ordered the filing of graft charges against businessman Cedric Lee and a former mayor of Mariveles, Bataan for alleged irregularities in the construction of a town public market project.

The Ombudsman said Lee and former Mariveles mayor Angel Peliglorio Jr. violated Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and malversation of public funds for alleged unauthorized release of P23.47 million and the proceeds of the town's bank loan amounting to P14,056,084 to Lee's company, the Izumo Contractors Inc.

The funds were released to Izumo on March 27, 2005 as payment for the construction of a public market in Mariveles town, but the Ombudsman investigators noted that the construction actually "never commenced".

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said that based on preliminary investigation "there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief" that Lee and Peliglorio committed and are probably guilty of graft and malversation of public funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.

Morales said that Peliglorio upon the request of Lee, authorized the release of the funds and loan proceeds even without procedural safeguards, guarantee of performance, and in violation of audit rules.

Lee is the President and CEO of Izumo Contractors Inc.

Morales said that Peliglorio "acted with bad faith, manifest partiality, or at the very least, gross inexcusable negligence", after authorizing the release of bank loans amounting to P14,056,084 to Lee's company.

Preliminary investigation revealed the payment for the said bank loan was debited from the municipality's Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), "causing undue injury to the Municipality of Mariveles."

Lee is facing a separate serious illegal detention case before a Taguig City court in connection with the mauling of actor Vhong Navarro in January 2014. (Sunnex)