Parojinogs want graft case junked
Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and his daughter have asked the Sandiganbayan to throw out a graft case filed against them for lack of probable cause.
Parojinog was accused of violating Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for awarding a gymnasium renovation project in 2008 to Parojinog & Sons Construction Co. (PSCC), a firm owned by his children.
His daughter and co-accused Nova Princess Parojinog was the firm’s managing partner. She is now the city’s vice mayor.
In a 30-page motion filed on Nov. 29, the Parojinogs argued that the Office of the Ombudsman erroneously applied the 2009 revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Government Procurement Reform Act in his case.
While the 2009 IRR required the disclosure of relations with the head of the “end-user unit”—the Ozamiz City mayor—this was not the case under the 2003 IRR that was still in effect when procurement took place in April to May 2008.
The motion noted that the 2003 IRR only required the bidder to make a sworn statement that he was not related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to the head of the procuring entity (the Department of Public Works and Highways) and various procurement officials.
It was only under the 2009 IRR that the disclosure requirement explicitly included the “head of the end-user unit,” referring to the Ozamiz City government under Parojinog.
“For the Ombudsman to retroactively apply the 2009 IRR to the said project has no legal or factual bases whatsoever,” the motion read, adding that it would be “unlawful.”
The Parojinogs also noted that the Ombudsman had dismissed the administrative aspect of the case in an Aug. 16, 2016 resolution.
The motion noted that the Ombudsman no longer held the Parojinogs administratively liable for grave misconduct because the 2009 IRR of the procurement law was not yet applicable then.
For them, this was “an express recognition that the accused are innocent of any impropriety and wrongdoing.”
“The Ombudsman already admitted that it committed error in its previous resolution finding probable cause to charge the accused for violation of [the graft law],” the motion read.
The Parojinogs also noted that the Commission on Audit (COA) had lifted the suspension of the gym project.
It argued that by doing so, “the COA itself subsequently recognized that there were no irregularities in the bidding and the award” of the project to PSCC.
“The Ombudsman should have done the same and should have desisted from proceeding with the criminal aspect of the complaint against the accused,” the motion read.
Section 3(h) of the anti-graft law prohibits public officials from “directly or indirectly having financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity.”
The Parojinogs recently made national news after President Duterte named the mayor among the politicians with links to the illegal drug trade.
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