• Cousin of Gwen Garcia faces graft raps before Sandigan

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    The cousin of Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia is facing two counts of graft connected with a P26-million socialized housing project that the Commission on Audit discovered marred with irregularities.

    The Office of the Ombudsman filed graft cases before the Sandiganbayan against Alvin Garcia, then mayor of Cebu City for giving unwarranted benefit to Octa Builders, Inc. by awarding the contract for the construction of a condominium project in Cebu City worth P26.64 million.

    The contract for the project was “unilaterally” determined by Octa Builders and the amount was pegged without an approved agency estimate.

    Other irregularities observed were: no public bidding, without the express consent of the Cebu City Development Council, the project was not published in local dailies for invitation, and was overpriced by P17.81 million.

    Octa Builders should not also be considered as a proponent in the transaction as it lacked capital to venture into the project.

    Alongside Garcia, also indicted were city councilors Laurito Malinao, Rodolfo Cabrera and Rico Rey Holganza; Eustaqio Cesa, city treasurer; and Pura Cimafranca, a private representative–all of whom are members of the bids and awards committee.

    Additionally, Garcia is to face solo a count of graft for granting the condominium project through an “outright purchase” instead of a more modest mode either by build-and-transfer or build-operate-transfer.

     

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