MANILA—The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has ordered the filing of multiple graft charges against seven officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Unit XI in Davao City for mishandling the utilization of the PHP10-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of then Davao Oriental Rep. Joel Mayo Almario in 2005.
Facing multiple counts of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”, are Roger Chio (Former Regional Executive Director), Romulo Palcon (Former Regional Technical Director), Alma Mahinay (Chief, Finance Division), Godofredo Ramos (Administrative Officer), Onofre Nugal (Chief, Agricultural Engineering Division), Jamie Bergonio (Former Chief Agriculturist) and Isagani Basco (Former Chief Administrative Officer).
In three separate resolutions, the Ombudsman found that Chio, et.al. facilitated the procurement and payment of the following items in 2005:
— 100 units of multimedia system with computer set worth PHP10 million;
— water system materials worth PHP2,591,435.40; and
— 81 units of personalized 10 x 20 livelihood tent with framing worth PHP2,496,582; for a total of PHP15,088,017.40.
The funding for the water system materials was sourced from Almario’s share from the GMA Rice and Corn Program.
Ombudsman probers found that the 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.
The respondents also failed to publish any invitation to bid as required under RA No. 9184, or the “Government Procurement Reform Act”.
They did not dispute that the procurement requirements were not complied with but raised the common defense that “they did not have any involvement in the bidding process.”
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said that “this is untenable.”
“The wanton disregard of a plain and simple policy of the law that defeated the principle of transparency and competitiveness in the procurement process is sufficient to establish that respondents acted with evident bad faith, manifest partiality or gross inexcusable negligence,” Morales added.