BACOLOD City Mayor Monico Puentevella is ready to face the charge for alleged violation of Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act once is it formally filed before the Sandiganbayan, said City Administrator Rolando Villamor, one of his lawyers.
Villamor said the mayor is innocent and has a clear conscience despite the recommendation of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales finding probable cause on the complaint filed against Puentevella.
The two other respondents are Victorino Tirol, former regional director of the Department of Education Region 6, and Jessie D. Garcia, chairman of the board, Merryland Publishing Corporation.
The Ombudsman denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Puentevella, Tirol, and Garcia.
The complaint involved the alleged anomalous purchase of computers worth more than P25 million using Puentevella’s Priority Development Assistance Fund from 2002 to 2007 when he was congressman of Bacolod.
The complainants include the late city legal officer Allan Zamora and his predecessors Joselito Bayatan, and Vicente Petierre, who were all appointees of former mayor and now congressman Mayor Evelio Leonardia.
They alleged that the computer packages were purchased from Merryland Publishing Corp. at P400,000 each without the conduct of public bidding, and which were found to be overpriced, defective and non-functional.
"The mayor will face the said charge in Sandiganbayan because he wants this case to be finally decided to prove his innocence. The mayor is very determined to face this in the proper forum. Let us just follow the proper course of the hearings," Villamor said.
He added that Puentevella's legal team have already met and discussed their course of action.
It is expected that the mayor will be arraigned for him to enter a not guilty plea, he said.
Villamor also maintained that Puentevella will not be suspended as claimed by his critics.
"The suspension will not happen as the very mayor who granted bonuses to the employees will be the same mayor who will give their Christmas bonus this year and next year, and until his term ends,” he added.
Villamor also said, "We are ready to face the case head on. This is one chance that I could prove to Bacolodnons that the case is baseless."
He said they will challenge in court whether or not Puentevella can be sued before the Sandiganbayan.
"We will question whether the information filed by the Ombudsman is a valid information,” Villamor said.