Ex-Benguet exec, 3 others in fertilizer fund scam

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The Office of the Ombudsman has recommended the filing of graft charges against former Bakun, Benguet Mayor Bartolome Sacla Sr., and three others in connection with the alleged fertilizer fund scam.

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The case stemmed from the allegedly anomalous purchase of Nutro Ocean Liquid Fertilizers worth P1.9 million from Bry Cin Enterprises (BCE) in 2004.

Facing the charges with Sacla are former municipal treasurer Manuel Bagayao, municipal accountant Virginia Kigisan, and Dolly Villaflor of BCE.

A 19-page Resolution by the Ombudsman said Bakun received P1.95 million from the Department of Agriculture (DA) in 2004 under the agency’s Farm Inputs and Farm Implements Program (FIFIP).

It said the municipality used the funds to buy 1,300 bottles of Nutro Ocean Fertilizers at P1,500.00/bottle from BCE. Fertilizers, which were “grossly overpriced” by as much as P1.74 million and that the products were “substandard” and were not registered with the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority.

Also, no public bidding was conducted for the purchase of the fertilizers because Bakun did not form a Bids and Awards Committee.

Section 3(e) of the anti-graft law (Republic Act 3019) punishes public officials who, by their official functions, cause undue injury to the government through manifest partiality, evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence. It also covers private individuals who are alleged to have colluded or conspired with public officials.

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