Calapan mayor faces graft case over TV, CCTV dealsBy Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Calapan City Mayor Paulino Salvador Leachon is facing a graft case at the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the local government’s purchase of allegedly overpriced TV sets, CCTV systems and lampposts worth in excess of P2 million.
A group calling itself Concerned City Hall Employees and Staff filed the complaint and accused Leachon of involvement in overpriced transactions in February 2012.
In its complaint, the group said that on Feb. 16, 2012, Leachon authorized the payment of P3,920,464 to the firm CNCKONZERN and a certain Marjohn Alcoba for the supply and installation of a LED giant display screen for Calapan.
But upon checking, the transaction cost was only P2,955,200, indicating an overprice of P965,2624.
“Such undue prejudice was committed either thru manifest partiality … evident bad faith or collusion,” said the complaint.
It said that a simple price canvassing would have revealed that the city was being made to pay more than the prevailing retail price of the goods and services being procured.
“Despite knowledge and subsequent notice of the overprice and overpayment, Mayor Leachon refused to seek the recovery of the amounts overpaid,” the complaint added.
The group said it could not reveal the identities of its members for fear of reprisal from Leachon.
Leachon, in a phone interview, decried the case as “black propaganda” against him.
“It’s an old story they’re trying to resurrect because of the elections,” Leachon said.
He said the case has already been “cleared” by the Commission on Audit and that all government projects in his city underwent proper bidding.
The complaint said Leachon also allegedly authorized the purchase of overpriced CCTV systems from Vector Computer Technologies represented by Frederick Ramirez.
A voucher dated Feb. 13, 2012, showed the city government paid Vector P986,272 for the supply and installation of a CCTV system in Calapan City.
However, an inquiry from another company carrying the same system revealed that the same system would only cost P274,480, indicating an overprice of P711,792.
Doubts were also raised on the existence of Vector Computer Technologies after it was reported that its address, as reflected in the voucher, had ceased to be its address 10 years ago.
The complaint likewise accused Leachon of also authorizing the purchase of decorative street lampposts in Calapan City for P3,539,700 from Colorspace Lamps and Lights and Leonardo Yu when the same lampposts could be obtained from the same company for only P2,484,000 or an overprice of P1,055,700. With report from Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon