News Briefs: Ombudsman OKs graft raps vs ex-mayor of Guiuan
The Office of the Ombudsman is set to file graft charges against seven officials of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, for skipping public bidding in the purchase of a P1.99 million fire truck in 2007.
Ordered indicted for graft were former Mayor Annaliza Gonzales-Kwan, municipal engineer Arsenio Salamida, municipal budget officer Esperanza Cotin, administrative officer Felipe Padual, market supervisor Danilo Colandog, draftsman Gilberto Labicane, and municipal planning development officer Ma. Nenita Ecleo.
The Ombudsman found probable cause to press charges against the local executives after investigators found that they resorted to negotiated procurement of the fire truck in violation of the Government Procurement Reform Act. —Vince F. Nonato
CTA affirms dismissal of BIR complaint vs election lawyer
The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has affirmed the Department of Justice’s dismissal of the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) tax evasion complaint against election lawyer George Erwin Garcia.
In a thirteen-page decision, the CTA Third Division denied the petition of former BIR Commissioner Kim Henares seeking to void the June 10, 2015, resolution issued by then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in favor of Garcia.
The BIR in September 2011 filed a complaint against Garcia based on a tip from a confidential informant.
The lawyer allegedly admitted during a Makati court hearing that he bought a P53 -million condominium unit in 2010, despite reporting a gross income of only P1,380,500 for that year.
But, the DOJ investigating prosecutor dismissed the complaint, giving weight to Garcia’s financial statements showing that he took out loans to pay for the condominium. —Vince F. Nonato
Sandiganbayan’s dismissal of Kho’s case appealed
State prosecutors have appealed the Sandiganbayan’s dismissal of graft charges against Masbate Gov. Antonio Kho, stressing that alleged investigation delays was justified by the Office of the Ombudsman’s heavy workload and limited personnel.
In a motion for reconsideration, the Office of the Special Prosecutor said the First Division’s dismissal of fertilizer fund scam charges against Kho was “premised on overly strict and unrealistic standards.”
The court had faulted the Ombudsman for taking more than five years to resolve the case since preliminary investigation began in May 2011 until the charges were formally lodged in November 2016.
Kho was accused of procuring P4.9 million worth of liquid fertilizers from Hexaphil Agriventures without public bidding. —Vince F. Nonato
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