The Office of the Ombudsman has found sufficient basis to file graft charges against a former municipal mayor in Leyte and two others over the procurement of P1.87 million worth of fertilizers in 2004.
The Ombudsman’s 18-page resolution said former Barugo Mayor Juliana Villasin as well as the town’s former accountant Aluino Ala and agriculturist Reynaldo Bodo had authorized the purchase of the materials through direct contracting.
The case against Villasin and company stemmed from the purchase of 3,900 liters of Fil-Ocean liquid fertilizers from Bals Enterprises sans public bidding, a procedure required by law for transactions by government offices.
The Ombusdman said the trio “gave Bals Enterprises unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference when they dispensed with the public bidding, pursued direct contracting as a mode of procurement of fertilizer for the Municipality, engaged the latter as supplier, and made payment for fertilizers, thereby causing undue injury to the government.”
The respondents are allowed by procedure to seek a reconsideration of the Ombudsman’s resolution.
The Commission on Audit (COA) earlier flagged irregularities in the deal, including the lack of public bidding and the absence of referral to the Bids and Awards Committee. Brand names were also specified while the supplier’s qualification and eligibility were not verified.
“[T]here was a prior agreement between respondents and Bals Enterprises even before the invitation to bid was published,” the COA report said.
The report further noted that it allegedly took the Quezon City-based Bals Enterprises 48 hours to deliver the fertilizers to Leyte.
“The fertilizer was only suitable for vegetables and power plants” and was “useless to achieve one of the project’s objectives, which was improved rice farming system and production enhancing-techniques,” the COA said.