Ombudsman indicts Bohol mayor for overpriced building 

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman indicted Anda, Bohol Mayor Angelina Simacio for an overpriced P2.4million multi-purpose center built in 2013.

The Ombudsman investigators found out that Simacio initiated the construction of the Anda Multi-Purpose Building/Center that was publicly bid and won by A.S.O. Construction at the price of P2,498,923.50.

Records show that the center was funded by the Priority Development Assistance Fund of former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

On 07 October 2013, the Commission on Audit (COA) issued an Audit Observation Memorandum, finding the project overpriced by as much as P754,517.36 and recommended that the contractor refund the amount to the local government.

The COA explained that “the excessiveness is due to the high labor cost which is higher than the normal and usual practice in construction, and an overestimated quantity of reinforcing steel bars.”

The Ombudsman stated that, “this Office is convinced that the contract entered into by the LGU with A.S.O. Construction was manifestly disadvantageous to the government. This is regardless of whether A.S.O. Construction indeed refunded the amount of P754,517.36. If anything, the refund is an indication that the contract was truthfully disadvantageous to the government.”

“Respondent, being the Mayor of the LGU at the time of the execution of the contract, was the head of the procuring entity. She signed the contract, which incorporated the bid documents including the Bid Prices and Bill of Quantities and the Detailed Estimates.

Simacio also  caused the disbursement of P2,498,923.50 based on the Accomplishment Reports submitted by A.S.O. Construction, which she notably approved. Clearly, she is not beyond reproach,” the Ombudsman added.

Under R.A. No. 3019, Section 3(g) penalizes the act of “entering, on behalf of the government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.”

In the related administrative case, Simacio was also found guilty of Simple Neglect of Duty and ordered suspended for three months. In the event of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to fine equivalent to respondent’s three months salary.-Jiann A. Padillo/Newsline.ph

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