THE Office of the Ombudsman filed graft and malversation charges against former Mayor Rodolfo Gache of Talisay, Camarines Norte and nine other municipal heads of offices before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the alleged anomalous procurement of fertilizers in 2004.
In a statement, the Ombudsman said that Gache and his fellow accused purchased 4,285 bottles of Hexaplus liquid fertilizer in 2004 in implementing the Farm Inputs and Farm Implements Program (FIFIP) of the Department of Agriculture of which program Talisay was a beneficiary.
Assistant Special Prosecutor III Lalaine Benitez alleged that the respondents “did then and there, willfully, unlawfully, and criminally give Hexaphil unwarranted benefits, privilege and advantage” by approving the purchase of the liquid fertilizers from the said firm “without public bidding and through direct contracting.”
Likewise named respondents were former Municipal Accountant Adela Adlawan; former Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Raul Rayos; former BAC Head Secretariat Ireneo Zabala; former BAC members Cecilio Noora Jr., Mirian Hernandez, and Romeo Maranan; and former Municipal Agriculturist Felicisima Velasco.
Alex Rivera, who was identified in the charge sheets as the then-President of Hexaphil Agriventures, Inc., and Victoria Ajero, identified as the area manager and collector of the said firm, were also included.
It added that the respondents also approved the disbursement vouchers and the corresponding journal entry vouchers “despite failing to verify if Hexaphil was an eligible supplier of liquid fertilizer, and to check the authenticity of the documents it submitted to qualify as supplier.”
The Ombudsman said that Hexaphil ‘s status as a registered firm has been revoked by he Securities and Exchange Commission while its license to operate, issued by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, allegedly expired before the procurement transpired.
Despite the irregularity, the respondents went ahead in facilitating the release of P1.04 million and P1.91 million in public funds to Hexaphil, it added.