5 PRC officials charged
State prosecutors have filed graft charges in the Sandiganbayan against five officials of the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) over alleged anomalies in its 2012 lease contract for its regional office in Baguio City.
The case filed by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon stemmed from PRC’s approval of a 15-month lease contract and the payment of P6.7-million rent to CTLL Building along Kisad Road without public bidding.
The PRC officials allegedly preselected a “preferred supplier,” which “effectively deprived the PRC of the chance to obtain the best, if not, the most reasonable price.”
Charged with violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act were the following former PRC officials: Chair Teresita Manzala, Commissioner Alfredo Po and Supervising Professional Regulations Officer Tricia Camara.
Also accused were two PRC officials dismissed in November over the alleged scheme: Then Cordillera Administrative Region Director Teofilo Gaius Sison Jr., and then Chief Professional Regulations Officer Sarah Edna Tabije.
According to the charge sheet, Sison repeatedly wrote Manzala and Po to stress the urgent need for PRC Baguio to relocate. He prepared a cost-benefit analysis stating that CTLL Building was the best site for the new office.
Manzala was accused of issuing and signing the July 20, 2012, letter of intent, which informed building owner Ernesto delos Santos of PRC’s intent to lease the building even without public bidding. This was also months ahead of the execution of the contract.
It was Po who allegedly directed PRC-Baguio to begin the transfer of the office.
Tabije allegedly countersigned the contract and prepared the request for the release of the rental payments, while Camara purportedly certified the availability of the funds despite not having seen any document from the bids and awards committee authorizing the lease.
“They also extended preferential treatment to Delos Santos, who unduly earned rentals from the aforesaid lease paid for by public funds amounting to P6,696,511.98, to the great prejudice of the PRC and the Filipino people,” the charge sheet read.
A bail of P30,000 was recommended for each accused official.
Po was caught in an entrapment operation by the National Bureau of Investigation in December 2012, after he allegedly accepted from Delos Santos a P42,000 monthly commission and a P394,000 broker’s commission.
Po allegedly solicited the amounts in exchange for helping Delos Santos bag the lease contract. Po was ordered dismissed in May 2013.
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