Ombudsman sacks Southern Leyte gov
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has dismissed Southern Leyte Gov. Damian Mercado over an anomalous purchase 10 years ago of three secondhand vehicles, including one he had previously owned and more than a decade old, for P2.3 million.
In a resolution announced on Thursday, the Ombudsman held Mercado liable for grave misconduct in the alleged irregular procurement in 2007, when he was mayor of Maasin City, the provincial capital.
The Ombudsman also banned Mercado from public office for life, forfeited his retirement benefits and canceled his civil service eligibility.
An investigation showed that the city acquired from Kojac Auto Repair Shop a Mitsubishi Pajero for P800,000, an Isuzu Wizard for P650,000 and a Toyota Grandia for P850,000.
The Grandia was owned by Mercado, who sold it in November 2006 to Kojac supplier Baltazar Avila Sr. for P390,000, less than half of what the city government paid for it.
Avila bought the Wizard for only P275,000 a year before selling it to the city government.
Investigators said the Pajero was 13 years old, the Wizard was 12 and the Grandia 11—all above the government’s age standards for vehicles set by the Department of Budget and Management Circular No. 446-A.
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