Jurado brushes aside allegations of corruption at OGCC
Government Corporate Counsel Rudolf Philip Jurado on Thursday brushed aside allegations of corruption hurled against him, saying his accusers are the one’s being investigated by the Commission on Audit (COA).
“They alleged that I am corrupt [yet] they are the ones being investigated and audited by the COA,” Jurado said in a statement.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier mentioned that he would likely fire the head of Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) next.
An unsigned letter purportedly from OGCC lawyers accused Jurado of favoring businesses, particularly gambling and gaming firms.
The letter also accused him of approving a 75-year lease agreement that would allow a foreign corporation to build a casino-hotel at the rate of P150 per square meter without public bidding. A gambling permit was also reportedly issued to the company.
Jurado refuted the allegation, saying the OGCC has no power to grant casino permits and the OGCC merely issued an opinion that a property can only be leased for a period of 50 years and renewable for another 25 years.
“More importantly, they should have also revealed that our office imposed at least 12 conditions that should be complied prior to the execution of the proposed contract of lease to ensure that said contract would not be disadvantageous to the government and compliant to all existing laws and regulations,” Jurado said.
One of the 12 conditions is that the property to be leased must be used as an amusement or cultural park showcasing Filipino culture.
Jurado also lashed back at his subordinates, saying that when he assumed office, he discovered that OGCC lawyers have been receiving ‘secret allowances’ directly from government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs).
The COA, in its report, noted that GOCCs release funds for OGCC lawyers. The commission had informed OGCC, however, that lawyers should refrain from collecting honoraria directly from their GOCC clients.
Because of COA’s report, Jurado said an office order was issued requiring GOCC lawyers to inform their clients that the allowances and honoraria must be paid to the office, not to the lawyers directly.
However, due to non-compliance, Jurado said he was “the one constrained to serve, inform and direct their clients to cease/refrain from further giving these allowances secretly to GOCC lawyers.”
“Now, these OGCC lawyers are trying to malign my reputation by alleging that I am supposedly incompetent and corrupt,” he said.
Even before the COA issued its observation report, Jurado recalled that when he started working for the OGCC in April 2017, some OGCC officers tried to convince him to receive an allowance amounting to P500,000 per month, but he turned it down.
“I also refused to receive the P1.2 million worth of service vehicle, and instead ordered the budget for such vehicle to be returned to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM),” he added. / ee
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