Bislig City mayor and key officials dismissed for grave misconduct

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MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed Bislig City, Surigao del Sur Mayor Librado Navarro for Grave Misconduct for the anomalous purchases of  hydraulic excavator worth P14,750,000.00 in 2012.

Aside from the dismissal, the Ombudsman has also ordered the cancellation of  Navarro’s eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service.

The same order dismissed key Bislig City City officials namely: Charlito Lerog- City Administrator who is also the chairman of Bids and Awards Committee (BAC); City Treasurer Roberto Viduya (BAC member); Aprodecio Alba Jr.-City Planning Development Coordinator; Felipe Sabaldan Jr.-General Services Officer; Belma Lomantas -City Budget Officer-in-Charge (OIC);  Lorna Salgado- OIC-City Engineer ; Daisy Ronquillo- City Legal Officer; Raquel Bautista-City Accountant, Gilbert Abugan, Laila Manlucob  and  Estefa Mata, all members of the Technical Working Group.

The case stemmed from the questionable purchase by the city government of a Komatsu crawler-type hydraulic excavator worth P14.7 million from RDAK Transport Equipment Inc. on 18 July 2012. The Commission on Audit (COA) Evaluation Report showed that the project was awarded to RDAK despite non-compliance with the technical specifications concerning the engine power, bucket capacity and operating weight.

Due to questions that attended the procurement, the COA issued a Notice of Disallowance on 23 October 2012.  It was also found out that RDAK did not truthfully present the specification of the Komatsu unit in its bid.

The Decision released on September 11 stated that “the TWG’s manipulation of data in its report; the award of the supply contract to RDAK despite the fact that it did not truthfully present in its bid the Komatsu PC200-8’s specifications, and the bidding was a failure as none of the bidders’ proposals were responsive; coupled with respondents going for RDAK’s less superior unit notwithstanding its glaringly higher price, all show respondents’ bad faith and manifest partiality toward the said supplier.”

“By respondent’s concerted acts clearly favoring RDAK, they accorded it the benefit, advantage and preference it did not deserve. Such acts are clearly willful in character and evince respondents’ flagrant disregard of their duty to protect the public interest,” the decision added.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph

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