THE Office of the Ombudsman elevated the case of former Agriculture Secretary Luis “Cito” Ramon Lorenzo and five former members of the Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corp. (Quedancor) before the Sandiganbayan over the P47.46 million Quedan Swine Program (QSP).
The Office of the Special Prosecutor has wrapped up its findings and formally charged Lorenzo, former Quedancor president Nelson Buenaflor and former board members Wilfredo Domo-ong, Romeo Lanciola, Nellie Ilas and Jesus Simon over the controversial credit program for swine raisers.
Graft investigators now charged the former officials after their failure to adhere to the Consolidated Guidelines on QSP which requires the government to conduct public bidding and the participating contractors to post performance bonds.
Graft investigators ruled that the officials instead merely prescribed the accreditation of suppliers.
“[This] deprived the Quedancor the opportunity to get the most advantageous offer for the swine inputs and denied the agency a recourse against the suppliers for non-delivery of swine inputs amounting to P47.46 million,” the three-page information read.
In its 21-page resolution that ordered the filing of the charges, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ruled that Quedancor accredited the suppliers and entered into contracts with input suppliers.
The state company also used and approved the government vouchers, issued checks drawn against the account of Quedancor and recognized in its books the procurement transactions.
“The borrowers had no control or ownership over the supposed monetary proceeds of the loan. They had no freedom to choose the suppliers from whom they could purchase the swine inputs,” read the resolution, which Morales signed on July 18.
The Commission on Audit also reported that swine supplies amounting to P47.46 million “were not delivered to the borrowers” as of 2005 yearend despite the advance payment that Quendancor made to the suppliers.
Because of the indicted officials’ actions, the Quedancor management made it appear that it was the farmers who bought the swine supplies.
“There was no recourse, there-fore, against the input suppliers for late or non-deliveries,” the Ombudsman ruling read.
In the same resolution, the Ombudsman indicted Rhomady Bernabe, former regional assis-tant vice-president for Southern Tagalog, but not before the Sandiganbayan.
Bernabe’s case also stemmed from the irregular implementation of the QSP in Mindoro province.
Bernabe was slapped with graft for being in cahoots with Metro Livestock for the award of P48.6 million purchase orders despite the company’s measly P62,500 paid-up capital.
Metro Livestock was found not in operation for two years, a requirement needed in se-lecting suppliers for the QSP, since its registration before the Securities and Exchange Com-mission was dated August 2003, while the QSP guideline was dated September 2002.
The company also had no license, certification or any record from the Bureau of Animal Industry.
“There is a reasonable ground to believe that private res-pondents were in connivance with Bernabe since they knew very well that Metro Livestock failed to meet the accreditation . . . and yet, they allowed the corporation to actively participate in the QSP” the ruling read.
Metro Livestock general manager Joel Salazar and directors Excel Salazar, Francis Edison Peña, Teresa Adille and Santiago Baldado were charged along with Bernabe.
Bail recommended for Lorenzo and the erstwhile officers of Quedancor is P30,000 each.
Calapan district officers Mey-nardo Morilla, Mary Jean Aguila dela Cruz, Enrique Hoseña, Lita Cabungcal, Marilyn Jayagan and Lorenzo Toleos were cleared of charges for simply implementing the transaction, which was accredited before it arrived to their office.
Quedancor board members Susana Leones, Celia Tan and Don Olegario were also cleared for not signing any board documents.
Charges against former board members Ruben Conti and Guillermo Cua were dropped in view of their deaths.