San Fernando, Bukidnon Laurencia Edma and 5 more government employees are currently facing graft and corruption cases before the Commission on Audit. See story below:
Five local town officials in Bukidnon and a state auditor from the Commission on Audit (COA) are now facing graft charges for the alleged irregular purchase of heavy equipment worth P14 million in 2004, the Office of the Ombudsman said on Tuesday.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales affirmed the filing of falsification of public documents against San Fernando mayor Laurencia Edma, treasurer Agapito Baldo, accountant Felipa Catanus, budget officer Nestor Lopez, private secretary Menchie Landicho and COA auditor Carlito Matias.
Bernardita Basay, owner of the Mindanao Philippine Sunday Journal is also facing falsification charge.
Aside from falsification raps, Edma, Baldo, Catanus and Lopez are also saddled with graft charges.
The resolution said that in 2004, the town of San Fernando entered into an term loan agreement with the Development Bank of the Philippines for the procurement of a new soil compactor and a tractor.
Instead of public bidding, the local officials resorted to direct contracting with Monark Equipment Corp. as supplier of the heavy equipment, the resolution said.
The Office of the Provincial Auditor issued an Audit Observation Memorandum, saying that no competitive bidding took place and several violations of the procurement act were noted such as failure to publish the invitation to bid and the failure to forward the contract to COA for review.
The payment made to the supplier was not recorded in the book of accounts, and the non-certification of the auditor of the availability of funds were also noted as violations.
The resolution said that the “absence of public bidding and the immediate resort to negotiated purchase deprived the government of the opportunity to securethe best and most economical deal.”
It added that “as an official of the COA, it is quite unsettlin that…Matias would completely overlook the municipality’s non-compliance with the prevailing law on procurement.”
It said that Matias’s act “of defending the alleged unfamiliarity of the local officials of San Fernando on the provisions of (Government Procurement Reform Act) and his obvious disregard of the said law in the conduct of his special audit, only reinforces his participation ion the scheme of projecting a non-existent public bidding.”
The Ombudsman included Basay in the charges as she falsely attested that the invitation to bid was published in the Mindanao-based newspaper. (text and photo by PhilStar.com)