STO. Tomas Mayor Gloria "Ninang" Ronquillo of this town is facing charges for alleged irregularities in the local government's purchase of service vehicles.

Vice Mayor Matias "Bong" Pineda filed a case for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act before the Office of the Ombudsman against Ronquillo, Municipal Treasurer Regina Carreon, Municipal Accountant Nympha Lacsina, local Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) head Gilbert Cruz, BAC Secretary Eliza Quiambao, Bidder's Representative of JAC Automobile Rowell Benitez.

The stemmed case from the local government's recent purchase of three service vehicles which included an ambulance, a fire truck and a six-wheeler dump truck.

Pineda alleged that no resolution pertaining to the purchase of vehicles, particularly one authorizing Ronquillo to enter into a transaction on behalf of the local government, was issued by the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) as of Wednesday, December 1.

He also alleged that the vehicles were purchased without passing through the proper government bidding procedure.

"Nagpa-bless sila ng bagong motor vehicles nung Monday at nagulat kami dahil walang alam ang SB na may binili pala sila. Uninformed kami sa nangyaring ito, kasama itong mga konsehal ng bayan," he said.

(They blessed new motor vehicles on Monday and we were surprised because the SB did not know that they had bought anything. We were uninformed of this incident, including these town councilors.)

Pineda also alleged that the brand new vehicles, which totaled P12,485,000, were allegedly "overpriced."

Based on the complaint, the ambulance amounted to P3,495,000, while the fire truck amounted to P4,995,000, and the minidump truck amounted to P3,995,000.

"May nag-alok sa akin ng 12-wheeler truck, ang presyo P3.5 million lang, pero itong nabili nila, six-wheeler lang pero almost P5 million. Itong ambulansya, nasa P3.5 million, hindi ko alam baka may dialysis machine na na kasama sa loob. Itong fire truck hindi rin namin alam kung gaano kalaki o ilan galon ito," Pineda said.

(Someone offered me a 12-wheeler truck, the price was only P3.5-million, but what they bought was only a six-wheeler but almost P5 million. This ambulance, at P3.5 million, I don't know if there is a dialysis machine already inside. This fire truck, we also don’t know how big or how many gallons it can take.)

The vice mayor said he filed the case, which was received by the Office of the Ombudsman on November 29, to hold accountable his fellow local officials and government employees who allegedly "misspent" the funds of the people.

"Hindi ko po hahayaan na lokohin ang mga kababayan ko at hindi naman po siguro masama na gumawa ako ng aksyon dahil trabaho ko ang protektahan ang kababayan ko, at baka isipin pa nila nakinabang ako dito," he said.

(I will not allow my fellow citizens to be deceived and it may not be bad for me to take action because my job is to protect my fellow citizens, and they may even think that I have benefited from this.)

Meanwhile, Ronquillo declined to comment on the matter yet as she has not received a copy of the case from the Ombudsman as of Wednesday afternoon.

She said she will seek a legal opinion first and will answer the allegations against her in the proper venue.