MULTIPLE graft charges were ordered filed before the Sandiganbayan against seven officials of the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Unit 11 over alleged irregularities in the procurement of P15.09 million worth of equipment and supplies in 2005.
The Office of the Ombudsman indicted former DA Region 11 regional executive director Roger Chio, former regional technical director Romulo Palcon, Finance Division chief Alma Mahinay, administrative officer Godofredo Ramos, agricultural engineering division chief Onofre Nugal, former chief agriculturist Jamie Bergonio, and former chief administrative officer Isagani Basco.
Chio, Mahinay, and Ramos are facing four counts of graft cases each; Mahinay will be charged in three counts; Nugal in two; and Basco and Bergonio, one count each.
They are accused of mishandling P10 million from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation of Davao Oriental Rep. Joel Mayo Almario that was downloaded to the agency for the purchase of 100 computer sets with multi-media system and another P5.088 million for the acquisition of tents and water supply systems.
The Ombudsman said the latter sum came from Almario’s district’s share under the government’s GMA Rice and Corn Program.
According to the breakdown of expenses provided in the resolution, P2.59 million went to the water system materials while P2.5 million was allocated for 81 personalized framed tents.
“Respondents failed to comply with the required bidding procedure as they did not conduct any pre-procurement or any pre-bid conferences for the projects. Respondents also failed to publish any invitation to bid as required under the Government Procurement Reform Act (Republic Act No. 9184),” the Ombudsman said.
The respondents raised a common defense claiming they did not have any involvement in the bidding process.
The Ombudsman said the claim was untenable because of evidence that they disregarded transparency and competitiveness in the procurement process.
It said their action showed “bad faith, manifest partiality or gross inexcusable negligence.” – Peter J.G. Tabingo