THE Office of the Ombudsman affirmed the indictment of Cebu Provincial Board Member Celestino “Tining” Martinez III and former Bogo City treasurer Rhett E. Minguez over allegedly irregular release of fertilizer fund amounting to P6 million in 2004.
In an order, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ruled that Martinez and Minguez are liable of violating Sect. 3(e) of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Bogo City Government, then under the administration of Tining Martinez, released the fertilizer fund to Sikap Yaman Foundation, a non-governmental organization based in Quezon City, to supply fertilizer for rice and corn in 2004.
But the foundation lacked the required accreditation by the City Government and the undated memorandum of agreement made no mention of the project cost and time schedules in the implementation of the program, the ombudsman said in a press statement.
“As signatories, respondents should have raised reasonable questions on the legality or regularity of the transaction,” said Morales in her order.
The Ombudsman also dismissed Martinez III from government service over the same case.
In 2004, the Bogo City Government received six checks totaling to P6 million from the Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas for the procurement of fertilizer for rice and corn in 2004.
During the program’s implementation stage, the City Government and Sikap Yaman entered into an undated memorandum of agreement, but without project cost and time schedules.
To process the payment to the foundation, Martinez and Minguez issued undated and unnumbered disbursement vouchers and allotment and obligation slips.
The transaction was consummated despite the non-accreditation of the foundation, pursuant to the Commission on Audit circular.
Government auditors, in their 2006 report, said the foundation failed to liquidate the money. COA’s Audit Observation Memorandum also noted that the foundation failed to submit a list of previous projects implemented and that no accomplishment reports were submitted.
State auditors also pointed out that officials failed to make representations with Sikap Yaman for the liquidation of the P6 million, while the Commission on Audit (COA) named the foundation as the supplier of 250 bottles of overpriced liquid fertilizers in Tuburan in 2004.
In the resolution, the anti-graft office said the project fund was released to the foundation in one instance “without any indication” on how or when the program would be implemented. There was also no project monitoring, inspection, or report to determine the project accomplishment.
On the other hand, the anti-graft office dismissed for lack of probable cause the graft charges against foundation’s incorporators namely: Marcelo Balmaceda, Juliet Chan, Nenita Ocenar, Helen Bayugan and Marissa Rugay.
In the order, Ombudsman Morales said the transaction was consummated despite the non-accreditation of Sikap Yaman as required state auditors.