Ex- Iloilo solon, DOTC execs face charges over ghost purchase of cell phones
MANILA, Philippines – A former lawmaker and officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) face malversation charges for the ghost purchase of 1,582 units of Nokia 1100 cellphones.
In a statement Monday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales approved the filing of malversation charges for the cellular phones worth P6.248 million in December 2004.
To be charged with malversation through falsification and violation of the antigraft law are former Iloilo Representative Judy Syjuco and DOTC Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Domingo Reyes, Jr., BAC Vice-Chairman Elmer Soneja and BAC members Director Rebecca Cacatian, Director Ildefonso Patdu, Jr., Legal Officer Geronimo Quintos and Director Venancio Santidad, DOTC Inspector Marcelo Desiderio, Jr., DOTC Technical Inspector Danilo Dela Rosa, and private respondent Domingo Samuel Jonathan Ng, owner of West Island Beverages Distributor (West Island).
The respondents face the charges after the Ombudsman found that the purchased cellphones were not delivered.
The Ombudsman also said the respondents released the funds to Ng even though West Island is a mere distributor of Smart Value Credits and therefore not an authorized supplier of cellular phones.
The officials also resorted to direct contracting even when there was no necessity for it, the Ombudsman said, noting that the procurement law requires public bidding as the rule and alternative modes may only be resorted in exceptional cases.
The Ombudsman also noted that Ng is president of Bank, Inc. where respondent Syjuco’s sons and Flame Property Holdings are stockholders. Respondent and her husband former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco are stockholders of Flame Property Holdings.
Ombudsman Morales said that “the confluence of facts and evidence will show that respondents conspired with each other through seemingly separate but collaborative acts to defraud the government of P6,248,900.”
Mendoza, Reyes, Soneja, Cacatian, Patdu, Quintos, Santidad, Desiderio and Dela Rosa were also found administratively liable of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty and were meted out the penalty of dismissal from the service with cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and being barred from taking civil service examinations.
The criminal charges against Mendoza were dismissed due to his death.
Also, the administrative and criminal charges against former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Director General Augusto Syjuco were dismissed for insufficiency of evidence, while the administrative charges against Judy Syjuco were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
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