Former LRT execs face graft raps over janitorial service deal
Former officials of the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) were indicted for graft by the Ombudsman for allowing a contractor to send fewer janitors than what was stated in the contract, causing undue injury to government.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said she has found probable cause to file graft charges against top LRT officials for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Set to face charges before the Sandiganbayan are LRTA former Administrator Melquiades Robles, Federico Canar, Jr., Dennis Francisco, Evelyn Macalino, Marilou Liscano, Elmo Stephen Triste, Eduardo Abiva, Nicholas Ombao, Roger Vaño, Maynard Tolosa and Juliet Labisto; as well as service providers Lilia Diaz and Dennis Acorda of the joint venture (JV) of COMM Builders and Technology Philippines, Corporation, PMP Incorporated and Gradski Soabracaj GRAS.
The graft charges stemmed from an anomalous maintenance and janitorial contract in Jan. 2009 for the deployment of 793 workers and janitors for the preventive and corrective maintenance of the trains, rails and depot facilities of LRT Line 1.
But the joint venture only deployed 209 personnel to the stations and depots, despite being paid P400.6 million as the combined costs of human capital and consumed material.
Ombudsman investigators also found out that “the disbursement vouchers of the series of monthly transactions had been processed without payrolls.”
Despite shortchanging the government, the joint venture’s maintenance and janitorial contracts were extended until July 2013.
READ: LRT deal linked to polls, execs’ fund raising
Morales in her resolution stated that “the Joint Venture is not justified to deviate from its minimum commitment” and “it is rather unfortunate that some public respondents aided the contractor in its desire to reduce its committed number of janitorial workforce.”
The respondents therefore “cannot sweepingly claim that they had regularly performed their duties because had they done so, they would not have given in to the demands of a private contractor.”
Morales added that “instead of pushing for the implementation of the awarded contract, the respondents agreed to the reduction of janitorial manpower.”
The Ombudsman has also found Canar, Francisco, Triste, Macalino, Liscano, Abiva, Ombao, Vaño, Tolosa and Labisto guilty of Misconduct. They were ordered suspended for six months.
In case of separation from service, the suspension is convertible to a fine equivalent to respondent’s six months’ salary. CDG
READ: DOTC to procure 120 brand new trains for LRT-1
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.