MWSS officials indicted for illegal hiring of consultants | Inquirer News

MWSS officials indicted for illegal hiring of consultants

/ 08:38 PM January 08, 2017
Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Building. —PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Building. —PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

MANILA — Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the filing of graft charges against several key officials of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System over the prohibited hiring of consultants in 2010 to 2012.

Respondents who face possible graft charges include: former administrators Gerardo Esquivel and Diosdado Jose Allado, as well as board member Emmanuel Caparas, who would later become acting justice secretary at the tail-end of the Aquino administration.

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In a 27-page resolution, the Ombudsman found probable cause to press graft charges for spending P8.39 million for the services of 37 consultants despite the absence of an approved rationalization plan.

Among those hired were Caparas and current Supreme Court Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, who were paid P198,000 and P180,000 as legal consultants in 2011. Former Philippine National Police Academy director Dionisio Coloma, Jr., was paid as security consultant for P127,990.36 from 2010 to 2011.

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This allegedly violated Section 7 of Executive Order No. 366, series of 2004, which prohibited the hiring of additional personnel during the preparation of the agency’s rationalization plan.

The resolution also cited the supposedly unjustified lack of public bidding as required under Section 10 of the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The Ombudsman rejected the claim that the hiring was necessary and inevitable, saying it “cannot prevail over the explicit proscription of the law.”

Although the MWSS sought authority from the Government Corporate Counsel, the requests were only made on October 1 and November 26, 2012, even as the hiring began in 2010.  The GCG would later approve the prospective hiring of only 13 employees, the resolution noted.

“Bad faith and intent to violate the law, particularly EO 366, are thus evident,” said the Ombudsman, adding the hired employees were effectively given unwarranted benefits.

The Ombudsman said that the despite the irregularity and illegality of the consultancy contractors, the MWSS officials signed the board resolutions, certified the payments to be necessary and lawful, and signed the corresponding checks.

“All of their actions, when taken as a whole, contributed to the concerted scheme of giving unwarranted benefits, advantage and preference to consultants who should not have been engaged in the first place,” the resolution stated.

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Esquivel, Allado, and Caparas each face one count of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Set to be charged for two counts of violating the same provision were: deputy administrator Leonor Cleofas, department managers Estrellito Polloso and Darlina Uy, and board members Oscar Garcia, Ferdinand Mahusay, Aurora Arnaez, Albert Balingit, Virgilio Angelo, and  Santiago Gabionza, Jr.

The following, meanwhile, may be charged for one count of graft: senior deputy administrator Macra Cruz, deputy administrator Zoilo Andin, Jr., corporate finance services chiefs Virgilio Matel and Jocelyn Toledo, and board members Ramon Alikpala, Benjamin Yambao, Ma. Cecilia Soriano, Jose Ramon Villarin, and Hermogenes Fernando.  SFM

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TAGS: Albert Balingit, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, Aurora Arnaez, Benjamin Yambao, corruption, Crime, Darlina Uy, Dionisio Coloma Jr., Diosdado Jose Allado, Emmanuel Caparas, Estrellito Polloso, Ferdinand Mahusay, Gerardo Esquivel, giving unwarranted benefits advantage and preference to consultants, Graft, Hermogenes Fernando, hiring of consultants, hiring of consultants without an approved rationalization plan, indictment, Jocelyn Toledo, Jose Ramon Villarin, Justice, law, Leonor Cleofas, Ma. Cecilia Soriano, Macra Cruz, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, Oscar Garcia, Ramon Alikpala, Santiago Gabionza Jr., Virgilio Angelo, Virgilio Matel, Zoilo Andin Jr.
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