The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to file graft charges against former Muntinlupa City mayor Aldrin San Pedro and 11 incumbent city officials in connection with the alleged anomalous purchase of P20.8-million worth of trolley bags for public school students in 2008.
A 26-page resolution signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said charges of violation of Section 3 (e) of the Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act must be filed before the Sandiganbayan against San Pedro and 11 other officials of Muntinlupa City for allegedly conniving to award a contract to CLMP Trading (CLMP) without holding public bidding.
The contract amounting P 20,821,428.58 was for the supposed purchase of 40,000 pieces of trolley bags in time of the opening of classes in June 2008.
In his testimony, Abel Sumabat, former head of the BAC Secretariat and the one who filed the cases against San Pedro and the other officials, said San Pedro personally instructed him in January 2008 to award the contract to CLMP, a sole proprietorship registered in the name of Eliza Mendoza, and facilitate the release of the Purchase Order (PO) in time for the start of classes in June 2008.
Sumabat added that “bid documents were fabricated to make it appear that there was a public bidding when in truth there was none.”
According to the Ombudsman resolution, San Pedro signed the issued the PO to CLMP in March 2008, way before the city government’s BAC issued a resolution dated May 6, 2008 declaring CLMP as the “Lowest Calculated and Responsive Bidder.”
The Ombudsman said that upon further investigation, it was also found out that the “Invitation to Apply for Eligibility and to Bid” was never published by the city government, “thus, making CLMP as the sole bidder.”
The Ombudsman resolution said that the BAC and the city government’s Technical Working Group (TWG) also declared CLMP as an eligible bidder despite the company’s failure to submit technical and financial documents that would prove that it has the capacity or track record to implement such a huge project.
The Ombudsman said it was later found out that CLMP does not have a license to transact with government agencies.
Aside from San Pedro, other incumbent officials of Muntinlupa City also recommended to be charged with graft are the following:
– Officer-in-Charge City Accountant Edwin Suitado
– Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairman Roberto Bunyi
– BAC vice-chairman Michael Racelis
– BAC members Avelino Orellana, Rodolfo Oliquino, Vicente Navarro, Peter Salonga and Sonia Laureta
– TWG chairman Roderick Espina
– TWG members Eduardo Bautista and Glenn Santos
The Office of the Ombudsman has also found San Pedro and the 11 officials guilty of administrative charges of Serious Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and were all, except San Pedro, meted out the penalty of dismissal from the service, including the accessory penalties of cancellation of civil service eligibilities, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
“As for San Pedro, his administrative liability was rendered moot and academic, owing to his re-election in the same position in 2010,” the Ombudsman said.
Meanwhile, in a separate Ombudsman resolution on the complaint of Sumabat against the same respondents in connection with the awarding of several infrastructure projects consisting of eight units of one-storey day care centers, four units of two-storey day care centers, one unit of police station, and one unit of two-storey health care center, the Ombudsman found administrative liability for resorting to sham biddings to purposely award the P47.2M contracts to A.P. Melendrez Construction, V.F. Labao Construction, ASRO Construction and Trading, PDJ Integrated Construction and JBA Espejo Construction.
Salonga and Laureta were meted out the penalty of dismissal from the service with all its accessory penalties, after the Office found both liable for Grave Misconduct, Dishonesty, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.
On account of lack of jurisdiction, the Ombudsman dismissed the case against San Pedro, Bunyi, Racelis, Oliquino, Navarro and Orellana as they were no longer in service when the complaint was filed on March 3, 2014. —KBK, GMA News
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