The Office of the Ombudsman filed a graft charge before the Sandiganbayan against former mayor Juliet Ngo-Fiel of Looc town, Romblon province and five others in connection with the awarding of a contract for the rehabilitation of an irrigation project to a lone bidder in 2007.
Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Quijano Laure accused the respondents of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft Law by awarding a contract for the Rehabilitation of Small-Scale Irrigation/Small Water Impounding Project to the lone bidder R.G. Florentino Construction and Trading (RGFCT), causing the disbursement of public funds amounting to at least P8,999,500.
This was “[n]otwithstanding the lack of authority of accused Ngo-Fiel from the Sangguniang Bayan [Municipal Council] of Looc, Romblon to enter into a contract in behalf of the municipality, and lack of qualification and/or non-eligibility of the winning bidder RGFCT, to participate in the public bidding, and despite several irregularities and instances of fraud attending the public bidding and execution and consummation of the transaction in favor of RGFCT,” the Ombudsman said.
Likewise named respondents were former Municipal Planning and Development coordinator Solomon Gregorio, Municipal Engineer Renato Saludaga, Municipal Agricultural Officer Jessie Jomadiao, Municipal Civil Registrar Wilma Pastor, and Municipal Assessor Rolando Gregorio.
Gregorio led the bids and awards committee, Saludaga was the vice chairperson while Jomadiao, Pastor, and Rolando Gregorio were members.
Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft Law prohibits public officials from causing undue injury to any party including the government, or giving a private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of their official functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
Upon the filing of a charge, the anti-graft court is duty-bound to determine if probable cause exists to try the case and to issue arrest warrants against the accused.
The Office of the Ombudsman recommended P30,000 bail each for the respondents’ provisional liberty.