DAR employees file graft rap vs De los ReyesBy Jeannette I. Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Office of the Ombudsman was asked Thursday to investigate Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes in connection with alleged anomalous information technology contracts worth P60 million.
The complaint for graft and corrupt practices against De los Reyes was filed by the DAR Employees Association (Darea) officers Antonia Pascual and Gloria Almazan.
Charged with De los Reyes were Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Felix Perry Villanueva, the department’s IT (information technology) director Nestor Bayoneto and service contractors Ariel Roda, Jose Ricardo Montaño, Maricelle Ouano, Michael Jabillo and Bernardo Abis.
The employees claimed that the contracts concerning the Department of Agrarian Reform’s Information Communication Exchange (DAR-ICE) project was grossly disadvantageous to the government.
Reached for comment, De los Reyes told the Inquirer he had yet to read the complaint but would respond to it.
Roda, Montaño, Ouano and Jabillo each signed six-month service contracts as IT consultants with the department from Dec. 1, 2010, to May 31, 2011. Each contract was worth P4.032 million.
Abis signed a contract from Nov. 16, 2011, to May 16, 2012, under similar terms, as service provider for the first phase of the DAR-ICE project.
The contracts with the five consultants totaled P20.16 million, according to the complaint. It said this should have been offered in a single contract in a public bidding. Instead, it said that the DAR resorted to “splitting of the contract,” which is against the law.
P40-million project for bidding
After the service providers were paid through completion certificates issued by Villanueva, the DAR offered the P40-million ICE project Phase II for bidding.
Three bidders made offers and the IT company that did not offer the lowest price and had allegedly failed to comply with the requirement of submitting the list of personnel to be assigned to the project got the contract, the complaint said.
It said the winning bidder had Abis as its chief operating officer and had the four other service providers—Roda, Montaño, Ouano and Jabillo—as the company’s personnel for the completion of the second phase of the P40-million DAR-ICE Project.
“As a result of this wanton and unjustified acts, public funds or property had been misappropriated to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people,” the complaint said.
On Monday, Pascual and Almazan also charged Villanueva, an official of the DAR bids and awards committee, with graft and corruption in the Office of the Ombudsman for giving the engineering firm FF Cruz a survey contract for a portion of Hacienda Luisita set for distribution to farmer-beneficiaries. The contract was allegedly overpriced by P7.5 million.