• Ex-Ilocos Sur town mayor, 3 others face graft case

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    THE Office of the Ombudsman has filed cases of graft and malversation through falsification of public documents before the Sandiganbayan against former Mayor Diocaesar Suero of Cabugao, Ilocos Sur and three others over the alleged overpayment of a farm-to-market road project in 2010.

    The other respondents were Jose Suboc, former municipal engineer; Florante Jara, former municipal planning and development coordinator; and Nestor Ibarra, proprietor of N.A. Ibarra Construction.

    In the charge sheet filed earlier this month, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Quijano Laure of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon alleged that the respondents, in conspiracy with each other, gave “unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to N.A. Ibarra Construction by issuing false certifications to facilitate, or in order to make the unjustified or illegal payment to accused Ibarra of the amount” of about P516,715.14.

    The respondents also allowed the disbursement/payment/release of the P516,715.14 to Ibarra despite the fact that the farm-to-market road project was found to be incomplete by the Commission on Audit, which ruled that there was overpayment.

    In the malversation case, the four were accused of conspiring with each other by falsifying the Certificate of Work Accomplished, Certificate of Services Rendered and Certificate of Project Completion in connection with the road project.

    Because of their actions, Laure said, the accused “appropriated, took away or misappropriated, or through consent, abandonment or neglect, permitted other persons to appropriate, take away or misappropriate, for their own personal gain and benefit, or for the benefit of other persons, the amount to the damage and prejudice of the government.”

    The Ombudsman recommended bail of P30,000 each for the respondents’ provisional liberty in the graft case, while no bail was recommended in the malversation case.

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