THE Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has sacked four village officials from Lapu-Lapu City over alleged anomalous purchase of various items amounting to P2.43 million in 2010.
Luanne Ivy Cabatingan, graft investigation and prosecution officer, dismissed from service Canjulao Barangay Captain Nestor Paypa and Councilors Emelia Baguio, Girlie Angel Rios and Salomeo Berame for grave misconduct.
“Complainant has presented substantial evidence to establish the violations/irregularities committed by respondents, as well as their willful disregard of the rules of procurement and intent to violate the law, not just once but repeatedly and in just under a month,” read Cabatingan’s decision.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by the ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office, which accused the respondents and three other village officials of grave misconduct.
The other respondents are Barangay Councilors Sandra Cabalhug, Magdalena Bering, and Wenda Dungog.
The councilors acted as the barangay’s s bids and awards committee (BAC) members, while Paypa served as the BAC chair.
The respondents purchased 17 various items amounting to P2.43 million on various dates in 2010.
These included computer units, office supplies, sports equipment and monobloc chairs, among others, from a lone supplier, BEYG Enterprises.
But BEYG Enterprises failed to submit the required procurement documents, such as audited financial statement or the invitation to bid.
Replying to the charges, Paypa, Baguio, Rios, Cabalhug and Berame denied committing grave misconduct or that the purchases were disadvantageous to the government.
There was no proof that the purchased items were overpriced, they said. They also insisted the they did not give unwarranted benefits to BEYG Enterprises.
Bering and Dungog claimed they acted in good faith during the entire bidding process on all purchases.
In the decision, the ombudsman ruled that Paypa, Baguio, Rios, and Berame should be indicted for grave misconduct.
The ombudsman said the required audited financial statements and the net financial contracting capacity are minimum documentary requirements pursuant to Republic Act 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act).
“The rule on inviting observers to bidding conducted is part of the measures under the law to ensure/enhance transparency in the procurement process,” the decision read.
Apart from dismissal from service, the respondents were also barred from working again in government.
In case the dismissal order can no longer be enforced because they’re no longer in office, the penalty will be converted into a fine equivalent to their one-year salary.
The ombudsman dropped the administrative case against Cabalhug, Bering and Dungog since they are no longer in service.