Ombudsman junks raps vs Bing, 10 others

OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio-Morales has dismissed for lack of evidence the administrative and criminal complaints against Bacolod Representative Evelio Leonardia and 10 other officials in connection with the purchase of garbage receptacle bins, spare motor parts, and office supplies in 2007 and 2008.

“(The complaints) fell short of the required quantum of evidence to support an indictment or a finding of administrative guilt against respondents,” the decision, penned by graft investigation and prosecution officer Maria Corazon Vergara-Naraja dated January 22, 2015, said.

Morales approved the order on Nov. 25, 2015.

The case was filed against then mayor Leonardia, eight members of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), and two officials of two private companies, for alleged administrative and criminal liabilities in the procurement of the said supplies.

It was filed by broadcaster Franklin Villanueva, who is identified with the camp of now suspended Mayor Monico Puentevella.

“The allegations concerning most of these transactions are deemed too unspecific to justify a finding of administrative guilt or an indictment against respondents,” the order said.

Villanueva had then furnished the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas documents, including a report from the Commission on Audit (COA), purportedly showing that Leonardia and the BAC members awarded contracts to Wener General Merchandise amounting to P1,812,379 in 2007 and 2008 despite alleged lack of documents and requirements.

Another set of documents furnished by Villanueva also purportedly showed the respondents awarded to Jarvine Enterprises several contracts totaling P1,099,453 despite allegedly having incomplete contracts.

In his counter-affidavit, Leonardia asserted that Wener and Jarvine are existing legitimate businesses and that he acted in good faith with regard to the procurement in question.

On Jarvine’s transactions and the COA report, the Ombudsman pointed out that when Leonardia and co-respondent former city accountant Eduardo Ravena requested copies of documents regarding these transactions, COA Bacolod could only produce one disbursement voucher.

“COA-Bacolod failed to produce the other eleven questioned disbursement vouchers concerning Jarvine. In view of this, Leonardia questioned the ability of the complainants to prove their case considering that the documents upon which the COA audit report was based cannot even be located by COA Bacolod,” the order added.

Also named as respondents but were also absolved were Goldwyn Nifras, then city agriculturist and BAC chairman; Luzviminda Treyes, then budget officer and BAC vice-chairman; Rogelio Balo, then city administrator and BAC member, Nelson Sedillo, then assistant City General Services officer and BAC member;

Lemuel Reynaldo, then City Planning and Development coordinator and BAC member; Annabelle Badajos, then city treasurer; Ravena; Josephus Cerna, then OIC of Department of Public Services; Edwin Tan, proprietor of Wener General Merchandize, and Jose Plomates, proprietor of Jarvine Enterprises.
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