BACOLOD City Mayor Evelio Leonardia said the dismissal of the criminal and administrative cases filed against him and the city officials proved the complaints were merely propaganda ploys of his political opponents.

These cases were part of the many filed by his political detractors, which were meant to subject him and his colleagues in the City Government to trial by publicity, Leonardia said.

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"I hope they will realize that it is their credibility that is suffering more than ours because most of the cases they filed against us were dismissed for lack of evidence," he said.

Leonardia made the statements after the Ombudsman-Visayas came out with a decision dated September 25, 2009 dismissing both the administrative and criminal cases filed against him and others relative to the proposed purchase of the 10 dump trucks for the city's solid waste management program.

Richard Sason, among others filed the complaint against Leonardia, Goldwin Nifras, chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee, Allan Zamora, former city legal officer, Luzviminda Treyes, city budget officer, Rogelio Balo, BAC member, Lemuel Reynaldo, and Enrique Agustin of Commercial Motors.

They were charged of violating Sec. 3, sub Section e and g of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as they allegedly conspired in rigging the public bidding on December 11, 2007 for the procurement of the ten dump trucks, which were awarded to Commercial Motors Corp of Pasig, Metro Manila.

Each unit cost P895,000 for a total bid price of P9.95 million.

The complainants claimed that there was an overprice of P195,000 per unit or P1.95 million for the ten units as Commercial Motors Corporation's unit price for the said truck as of December 11, 2007 was actually only P700,000, according to Franklin Villanueva, manager of F Channel 13, based on his personal investigation.

But the Ombudsman stated the 'undue injury' clause under Section 3(e) provides: "...cannot be presumed even after a wrong or a violation of a right has been established. Its existence must be proven as one of the elements of the crime. In fact, the causing of undue injury or the giving of any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence constitutes the very act punished under this section."

"Thus, it is required that the undue injury be specified, quantified and proven to the point of moral certainty," the decision stated.

Zamora, in his letter to Commercial Motors dated April 9, 2008, informed the supplier that the Notice of Award given to the company has been nullified. Hence, with the said transaction never coming to fruition, no damage or injury was caused to the government, the Ombudsman said. (Carla N. Cañet)