• Ex-coast guard chief, 24 others charged with graft


    The Office of the Ombudsman has found basis to file graft charges at the Sandiganbayan against former Philippine Coast Guard chief William Melad and 24 others for their alleged involvement in the irregular disbursements and procurement of office and construction supplies worth P68 million in 2014.

    Ordered charged were Melad, retired Commandant Rodolfo Isorena (25 counts); former Commodore Aaron Reconquista; retired Rear Admiral Cecil Chen; former commanders John Esplana (16 counts), William Arquero (two counts), Jude Thaddeus Besinga (two counts), Roben de Guzman (two counts), Enrico Efren Evangelista Jr., Ferdinand Panganiban, Joselito Quintas, Ivan Roldan (two counts), Rommel Supangan, George Ursabia Jr., Ferdinand Velasco, Wilfred Burgos and Allen Dalangin; then-Captains Joeven Fabul (25 counts), Angelito Gil (two counts), Angel Lobaton IV, Christopher Villacorte and Ramon Lopez; Mark Larsen Mariano, Mark Franklin Lim 2nd, and Accounting Head Rogelio Caguioa (25 counts).

    The Ombudsman also found basis to charge Isorena, Esplana, Fabul, Caguioa, Arquero, Lopez, and Quintas with violation of Section 65 of the Government Procurement Reform Act.

    In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Ombudsman said the respondents purchased cell cards, hardware, office, construction, and IT supplies without public bidding.

    The Ombudsman imposed on the respondents the penalty of dismissal from the service with cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office. The penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to the respondent’s one-year salary in case the penalty can no longer be enforced. REINA TOLENTINO


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