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Ex-Makati mayor Peña in hot water over ‘smart’ project

/ 12:00 AM March 14, 2017

After allegedly anomalous transactions enabled him to break the hold of the Binay family on Makati City, former acting Mayor Romulo Peña found himself facing a graft case over the purchase of sports equipment.

Earlier this month, Peña and seven other city officials were accused of graft and falsification in the Office of the Ombudsman for giving the full payment of P823,195.31 for sports supplies they ordered in June 2016.

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However, the complainant, the city government’s current Youth and Sports Development Department (YSDD) head Marlyn King, claimed that not all of the equipment was delivered.

King, who was appointed by Peña’s successor and current Makati Mayor Mar-Len Abigail Binay, filed the 18-page criminal complaint on March 6.

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Peña was accused of “conspiring” with other city officials to falsify the delivery reports and release the full payment to lone bidder PMPI Creative Suites, Inc. led by its president, John Co.

Besides Peña and Co, also named respondents were former YSDD officer in charge (OIC) Ernesto Marcos Lopez, recreation and welfare services officer Fe Villasin, former City Treasurer’s Office OIC Amalia Santos, General Services Department (GSD) OIC Ramila Cruzado, inspection officers Carmina Lazaro and Helena Cejalvo, and GSD Supply and Property Management Division chief Sonia Suarez.

The contract was awarded in May 2016 to PMPI for the city’s yearly Sports, Music, Arts and Recreational Training (SMART) program.

According to King, the city officials during Peña’s term falsely attested to the complete delivery of 272 basketballs, 112 arnis sticks, 61 shuttlecocks, 30 volleyballs, 30 footballs, 37 table tennis balls, 29 kick pads, three volleyball nets, 58 tarpaulins, 350 posters, 120 plaques, 106 medals, 3,000 certificates and 3,000 smart identification cards.

Upon her assumption, King said she ordered an inventory because the items were not turned over to her office. It was later learned that some of these have yet to be delivered, King added, claiming that this was confirmed by Lopez and even the supplier, PMPI, which promised to turn over all the sports supplies.

Peña, meanwhile, told reporters that he would wait for a copy of the complaint before responding to the allegations against him.

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