The Office of the Ombudsman has indicted Margosatubig, Zamboanga del Sur Mayor Roy Encallado and eight others for graft charges over the anomalous purchase of farming supplies and equipment worth P4 million.
In a statement on Friday, the Ombudsman said it found probable cause to indict Encallado and the others for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for the anomalous procurement of supplies from Barcelona Spring Farm (BSF) worth P4,112,366.02.
Aside from Encallado, also charged were Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Arwin Alpha; BAC members Alex Villarin, Elvira Emia, Andres Limatoc, and Merlinda Ambaic; Municipal Accountant Eien Maning; National Resource Management Focal Person and Municipal Planning Officer Ludivina Salazar; and Inspection Officer Pilar Locop.
According to the Ombudsman, the Municipality of Margosatubig received in 2014 a P5 million grant from the Department of Agriculture (DA) under the Sustainable Income Generating Activity.
It was a sub-project of the Mindanao Rural Development Program funded by the World Bank for aquamarine farming projects, the Ombudsman said.
“In utilizing the fund, respondents procured fish cages, fingerlings and fish feeds without conducting any public bidding,” the statement read.
The Ombudsman said that the Commission on Audit (COA) on April 14, 2016 issued a notice of disallowance over “irregularities” in the “unjustified resort” of procurement under the Government Procurement Reform Act, or R.A. 9184.
According to the Ombudsman, the COA also found out that the respondents had paid BSF as early as January 2015 or prior to completion of the delivery, inspection and acceptance of the supplies on February 20, 2015.
Likewise, it added that the COA on January 6, 2016 conducted an ocular inspection of the project site and found that “no fish cages were installed nor was there any delivery of fingerlings or fish feeds.”
“By their glaring failure to comply with the provisions of R.A. No 9184, they gave unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to BSF. Indeed, they awarded the procurement contract to it without the benefit of a fair system in determining the best possible price for the government,” the Ombudsman stated in its resolution.
“The payments to BSF would not have been possible if not the concerted acts of respondent Encallado who approved the payments; respondent Maning who certified the documents as complete; respondents Salazar and Locop who signed the Inspection and Acceptance Report; respondent Alpha who signed the Request for Quotations; and respondents Villarin, Emia, Limatoc, and Amaic who signed the BAC resolutions recommending the use of Negotiated Procurement by way of a Procurement Agent and awarding the contracts to BSF,” it added. /muf