Ex-Misamis officials face raps over fertilizers

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Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has ordered the filing of graft charges against former Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental mayor Zenaida Azcuna, Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Members Marietes Bonalos, Aurora Alon, Marcial Lamoste, Homer Lariba and Alicia Penales, and supplier Alberto Aquino of Malayan Pacific Trading Corporation (MPTC). The seven allegedly violated the Anti-Graft Law when they procured 666.7 liters of Macro-Micro Foliar fertilizer worth P1 million in 2005. However, a Commission on Audit (COA) investigation showed that the purchase was made for a specific brand and was done without public bidding. This is aside from an alleged overpricing of P1,375 per liter. The anti-graft office also found in its investigation that the purchase was endorsed by the mayor’s husband Melquides Azcuna, who also served as the town’s vice mayor. Morales said, “BAC had ample time to do all what was needed to protect the interest of the LGU as the procurement was not urgent in nature (but) did not examine the product of MPTC through an independent and reliable chemist to verify the certification of MPTC.”

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