MANILA — The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has upheld its finding of the existence of probable cause for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”, against five members of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the Power Sector Asset and Liabilities Management (PSALM).
Charged were department managers Rico Valdellon and Lorenzo Jacinto, division managers Jacinto Ilagan and Don Thed Ramirez, and BAC Disposal Committee member Renato Vehenente.
The case arose from the illegal award of the contract for the sale/disposal of waste oil from the Sucat Thermal Power Plant to the joint venture firm of Genetron International Company, Atomillion Corporation and Safeco Environment Services, Inc. (joint venture) in January 2012.
During the conduct of preliminary investigation, substantial procurement violations were committed by the BAC in awarding it to the joint venture as the third highest bidder, they allowed the bidder to submit its Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC), a required eligibility document, after the opening of bids, and despite the recommendation of the technical working group (TWG) to declare the “joint venture” disqualified, thereby effectively giving it undue favor through manifest impartiality and evident bad faith.
Likewise, the BAC strictly applied the “pass-fail” criteria insofar as the top two bidders causing their disqualification, whereas the rules were relaxed with respect to the joint venture.
In upholding the criminal charges, the Ombudsman resolution said that with “the concerted acts of illegally causing or facilitating the award of the project to the joint venture, it can be reasonably inferred that they conspired with one another to commit the offense attributed to them.”