Former Zamboanga del Sur governor and now Rep. Aurora Cerilles and five others are facing a graft case at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s First Division in connection with the allegedly anomalous procurement of more than P14 million worth of solar streetlights in 2008.
Also named respondents were Rino Soria, Mark Anthony Padayhag, Wenefreda Cañada and Evelyn Panuncialman, who were identified in the charge sheet as former members of the Provincial Bids and Awards Committee.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Ombudsman said the respondents authorized and facilitated the procurement of 40 sets of solar lights for the municipality of Dumalinao.
Based on the charge sheet, which was filed before the Sandiganbayan on July 12, the respondents caused the procurement of the streetlights in the amount of P14,998,000 from Willstrong Becker Philippines without calling for the required public bidding.
Assistant Special Prosecutor II Anna Leah Tiongson-Mendoza of the Office of the Ombudsman accused the respondents of giving unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to the firm by allegedly “resorting instead to direct contracting without complying with the conditions therefor, in violation of Republic Act 9184, with undue haste, and thereby depriving the Provincial Government the opportunity to secure the best possible price and terms for said street lights, causing undue injury to the Provincial Government in the aforesaid amount.”
Republic Act 9184 is the Government Procurement Reform Act.
All respondents have posted bail.