Iloilo ex-gov Niel Tupas Sr. indicted over electricity deal
MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has indicted former Governor Niel Tupas Sr. and three other provincial officials for graft in connection with the overpayment of unconsumed electricity worth P4 million to Green Core Geothermal, Inc. (Green Core).
In a statement, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales found probable cause to charge Tupas (father of Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr.), Provincial Accountant Lyd Tupas, Assistant Department Head Sandra Bionat, and General Services Department Head Ramie Salcedo for violating the anti-graft law due to alleged irregularities in the deal with the National Power Corporation, later assumed by Green Core, for the bulk supply of electricity from 2007 to 2011.
The deal was made in anticipation of the Iloilo Multi-Purpose Convention Center, for which the supply contract provided for an increase in contracted energy to 400,000kWh/month from 185,000kWh/month.
Due to the non-construction of the building back in 2009, Tupas requested to adjust the energy contract to 17,000 kwh/month.
Green Core then applied the adjustment for the period covering June 2010 to December 2011.
Green Core was paid the amount representing 1,084,814.50 kWh even if the actual energy consumption in Iloilo was only 515,180.50kWh.
This means the province paid P5.88 million though the actual consumption was at P1.88 million, resulting in an overpayment of P4 million covering the billing period December 2009 to April 2010.
Because of this, the Commission on Audit issued a notice of disallowance to the Iloilo government.
Ombudsman Morales said the “respondents cannot sweepingly claim that they merely certified the disbursement documents to be valid, proper and legal, because if they really perused those documents they would have found the questionable nature of an electric billing that was unconsumed.”
In a related administrative case, Lyd Tupas, Bionat and Salcedo were also found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and neglect of duty, and were meted out the penalty of suspension from the service for one year.
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