THREE officials of Barangay Labogon, Mandaue City were placed under a 60-day preventive suspension for their alleged involvement in a "ghost delivery" of construction materials to a recycling facility.
Suspended are Labogon Barangay Captain Renato Suson, Councilor Alfredo Estrada and Councilor Benwilson Bodo, Jr.
The order from City Council was signed by Acting Mandaue City Mayor Carlo Fortuna on Wednesday, December 27.
Personnel of the city interior and local government and city legal office implemented the order on Thursday, December 28.
Officials were not present to accept the order, which led the implementing officers to attach the papers to the door of Suson's office and barangay hall.
Suson reportedly left the barangay hall, while Estrada and Bodo were on leave.
The City Council's resolution to suspend the officials was passed last December 20
“In accordance with the interlocutory order contained in the resolution no. 14-1092-2017 of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Mandaue, you are hereby place under preventive suspension for 60 days. During which period you shall cease and desist from performing the functions and duties of your respective offices,” Fortuna's memorandum order read.
Fortuna instructed Suson to turn over his duties to first councilor Amado Manatad, one of the complainants.
Manatad was joined by his fellow Labogon councilors Corazon Dajao-Tumulak, Marvin Soco and Baby Besabella Gutierrez in filing complaints against the three officials last July for alleged violation of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Suson, Estrada and Bodo denied in their joint counter-affidavit that they committed irregularities, saying the materials are for the recovery facility.
City Councilor Nenita Layese, the laws and governance committee chairperson, said the officials failed to include the receipt from the barangay treasurer acknowledging the materials were received.
Layese further stated there were no receipts in the delivery of 65 sacks of cement, five cubic meters of gravel, five cubic meter of sand, and 1,000 hollow blocks for the MRF.
She added the store where the materials were reportedly bought is non-existent in its address, Barangay Tawason, Mandaue City.
“The fact that there was no actual receipt of deliveries, are very serious charges, aggravated by the fact of non-compliance with the provisions of RA 9184 as to the procurement of the aforesaid materials,” said Layese.
The committee questioned the suspended officials' alleged shortcuts in the bidding process and they allegedly used ghost employees from two companies that joined in the bidding.
“Perusing the evidence submitted on records, this Committee finds that the evidence of guilt against the respondents is strong that involves gross dishonesty and grave misconduct,” said Layese in her report. (KAL/SunStar Cebu, JPP/SuperBalita Cebu)