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Bacolod mayor dismissed

Ombudsman orders graft raps

ILOILO CITY—The Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia for alleged irregularities in the purchase of office equipment, furniture and fixtures amounting to about P49 million in 2008.

In a 21-page joint resolution signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Dec. 13, 2016, the Ombudsman found basis to charge Leonardia with violating Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

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Leonardia said his lawyers filed a motion for reconsideration at the Ombudsman on Jan. 11.

“This is a surprise to us because we knew that this case is already terminated,” said the mayor in a phone interview.

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“But we will face the case and our lawyers will present our arguments in the proper venue,” he said.

He declined to discuss the case in detail, but said it was “clear in the Ombudsman resolution that all goods were delivered and there was no money stolen.”

“There was no overprice, no conspiracy and we did not act in bad faith,” the mayor said.

The Ombudsman also indicted nine other city officials and employees for graft and ordered their dismissal.

These include members of the city’s bids and awards committee: Goldwyn Nifras (chair), Luzviminda Treyes (vice chair), Nelson Sedillo and Melvin Recabar (secretariat head) and technical working group members Eduardo Ravena, Jaries Ebenizer Encabo, Belly Aguillon, Aladino Agbones and city treasurer Annabelle Badajos.

The Ombudsman found Leonardia and the other officials and employees guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty for violating the procurement law and showing partiality to the supplier.

They were meted the accessory penalties of forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office and cancellation of civil service eligibility.

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The Ombudsman said in its resolution that those found guilty violated procurement rules by awarding the contract to supply property, plant and equipment, furniture and fixtures for the New Bacolod City Government Center to Comfac Corp.

Comfac Corp., a company primarily engaged in information technology systems, was ineligible to bid for the contract because it was a distributor, not a manufacturer, of furniture, according to the Ombudsman.

The respondents had pointed out that Comfac was eligible because it was the exclusive distributor of its sister company, Cornersteel Corp., which manufactures furniture and fixtures.

Bias found

But the Ombudsman said “the act of naming an ineligible corporation as the eligible bidder reflects bias and partiality.”

The Ombudsman said the officials also violated the procurement law by retaining the P500,000 bidder’s bond of Comfac and treating it as a performance bond.

The bidder’s bond is a fee paid by bidders as a guarantee that the winning bidder will enter into a contract with the procuring office or agency. A performance bond is a guarantee that the winning bidder will comply with its contract obligations.

The Ombudsman said the performance bond should have amounted to more than P2 million.

“The respondents exposed the city government to the risk of Comfac not performing its obligation,” said the Ombudsman.

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TAGS: Bacolod, Evelio Leonardia, Ombudsman, Philippine news updates
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