• Ex-Agusan, Misamis mayors face graft


    The Office of the Ombudsman has found sufficient grounds to file graft charges against the former mayors of Buenavista town in Agusan del Norte and Libertad in Misamis Oriental in connection with the anomalous procurement of fertilizers on separate occasions in 2004.

    Charged before the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division was Percianita Racho, former mayor of Buenavista town, for the alleged anomalous disbursement of P3 million for the purchase of overpriced fertilizers.

    Also named respondent, in a case filed by Asst. Special Prosecutor II Harry Caldino was Lucio Lapidez, listed as then-representative of Feshan Philippines, Inc., that supplied the fertilizers.

    Caldino alleged that Racho, in conspiracy with Lapidez, awarded the deal to his company for the purchase of 2,000 bottles of Bio-Nature Organic Liquid Fertilizer at P1,500 per bottle without public bidding, contrary to the prevailing market price that time at only P125 per bottle based on the 2004 audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA).

    In addition, the Ombudsman alleged that the fertilizers delivered were of inferior quality based on laboratory tests.

    Meanwhile, the Ombudsman also found grounds to file charges against former Libertad Mayor Alberto Acain and several others for the alleged highly irregular procurement of fertilizers in 2004.

    To be indicted with him were Lucia Almeñe, Oscar Benlot, Isidro Gervacio, Elizabeth Pagalan, and Sergio Jacalan Jr., all former members of the bids and awards committee; as well as the former representatives of Green’s International Enterprises (GIE)—Ricardo Mendoza Jr. and Ma. Lourdes Mendoza.

    The Ombudsman said that the case was based on the Commission on Audit’s (COA) findings that Acain and the others resorted to direct contracting instead of calling for a public bidding in the procurement of the two batches of fertilizers worth P4.99 million.


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