DOJ asked to dismiss corruption charges against Sereno’s staff
Two staff members of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Wednesday asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss the complaint filed against them by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.
During the preliminary investigation, staff head Ma. Lourdes Oliveros and staff member Michael Ocampo appeared before Assistant State Prosecutor Gilmari Fe Pacamara and submitted their counter affidavits.
They are facing charges for violation of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and also R.A. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act). The two did not grant a media interview.
The complaint stemmed from the alleged questionable hiring of former IT consultant Helen Perez-Macasaet, which is also one of the grounds cited for impeaching the chief justice.
Gadon said in the complaint that Oliveros and Ocampo have shown “manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence” in the performance of their administrative duties.
The complainant alleged that only two of the eight contracts of service of Perez-Macasaet at the Supreme Court passed the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) while the six others were renewed by Sereno without the knowledge and approval of the BAC.
“The splitting of the contracts was meant to evade competitive bidding in violation of RA 9184. The mode of hiring of respondent Perez-Macasaet was a form of negotiated procurement through direct negotiation instead of undergoing public bidding,” he stressed.
Gadon also questioned Perez-Macasaet’s compensation, which was set at P100,000 a month under the first contract and P250,000 a month in the succeeding contracts. He said it was “way beyond” the compensation ceiling set by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
“By reason of compensation alone, the contracts of service of Perez-Macasaet, upon the recommendation and influence of respondents Oliveros and Ocampo, are manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government,” he said.
Perez-Macasaet was named respondent in the complaint. She is set to submit her counter-affidavit in the next hearing set for May 9./ee
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