Ex-Surigao gov posts bail in fertilizer fund scam case

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Former Surigao del Norte Gov. Robert Lyndon Barbers has posted P140,000 bail after the Office of the Ombudsman filed graft and malversation charges before the Sandiganbayan against him and several others in connection with the alleged anomalous procurement of fertilizers in 2004.

Barbers posted bail on Friday even as the graft court’s Second Division has yet to rule on the issuance of arrest warrants against him and all the respondents in the said case.

Likewise facing charges were then-Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Vicente Madlos, then-BAC vice chairman Bob Edera as well as then-BAC members Virginia Yuipco, Teresita Durero, Audie Relliquette and Adolfo Pantilo Sr.

Also charged was Rose Marie Palacio, then-general manager of Rosa Mia Trading from where the fertilizers were purchased.

Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Rowena Vidad alleged in the charge sheets that Barbers and respondent officials entered into a contract in the behalf of the provincial government for the purchase of 3,332 kilos of foliar fertilizer worth P1,500 per kilo “without the benefit of public bidding, certifying that there are no suitable substitute to Elements foliar fertilizer in order to unlawfully resort to direct contracting and tailor-fit favored supplier and exclusive distributor Rosa Mia…”

Vidad further alleged that subsequently, payment totaling P4,998,000 to the supplier was allegedly approved for 2,166 kilos and 1,166 kilos of foliar fertilizer “which is overpriced by at least P1,330.00/kilo” or for a total amount of P2.88 million and P1.55 million, respectively.

A P140,000 bail was recommended for each of the respondents’ provisional liberty.

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