If former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante was cleared by the Sandiganbayan for plunder, it is a different story with another fertilizer scam accused in the province of Pampanga.
This came about after the Court of Appeals (CA) upheld a dismissal order of the Office of the Ombudsman against a former provincial account of Pampanga in connection with the controversial fertilizer fund.
In a 12-page decision, the CA’s Seventh Division dismissed a petition for certiorari filed by Benjamin Yuzon and affirmed the assailed order dated August 11, 2014 rendered by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Region III directing the immediate implementation of the Ombudsman decision dated September 18, 2013.
In May 2011, the Field Investigation Office (FIO)–Task Force Abono filed an administrative complaint against Yuzon along with several others, for dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
It alleged that Yuzon, in his capacity as then provincial accountant of Pampanga, certified to the correctness of the liquidation report relative to the purchase of 3,880 liters of Macro-Micro Foliar Fertilizer by the provincial government despite the absence of a public bidding, overpricing and lack of proper documentation in violation of the anti-graft law.
The anti-graft office later ordered Yuzon’s dismissal until the case reached the appellate court.
In its November 10, 2016 ruling that was released only recently, the CA held that the DILG was right when it implemented the dismissal order against Yuzon.
The ruling was penned by Associate Justice Elihu Ybañez and concurred in by Associate Justices Magdangal de Leon and Victoria Isabel Paredes. Jomar Canlas