The Office of the Ombudsman has filed a graft charge at the Sandiganbayan against former Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupas Sr. and three others over alleged payment of the province’s unconsumed electricity bills that cost more than P4 million.
Likewise named as respondents are then-Provincial Accountant Lyd Tupas, then-Assistant Department Head of the Provincial Accountant Sandra Bionat, and then-Department Head of General Services Ramie Salcedo.
The charge was for alleged violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits public officers from causing undue injury to any party including the government, or giving any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of their official functions.
Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Janet Cabigas-Vejerano accused the respondents of “conspiring with one another, while in the performance of their official functions, acting with manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or gross inexcusable negligence, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally give unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to Green Core Geothermal, Inc. by allowing and approving for payment the unconsumed electricity bill of the province.”
Based on the charge sheet, which was approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, the payment was for the billing period December 26, 2009 to April 25, 2010.
The P4.007 million “was indeed received by Green Core Geothermal, Inc., thereby causing undue injury to the government in the said amount.”
The charge, which was filed last week, was designated by raffle to the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division. The Ombudsman recommended P30,000 bail for the respondents’ temporary release.