• Former mayor faces raps over bidding

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    The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to file a graft charge before the Sandiganbayan against former Mayor Percianita Racho of Buenavista, Agusan del Sur and seven others over the purchase of construction materials.

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    Also named respondents are Municipal Accountant Svette Quimzon, Municipal Treasurer Ricardo Bagasbas, Bids and Awards Committee Chairman Francisco Racho Jr., BAC Vice-Chairman Maribeth Ancajas as well as BAC members Leonardo Usi, Emelita Espina and Doria Vapor.

    They can still appeal the matter.

    According to the Ombudsman, the bidding for the various materials, which were intended for the installation of fire hydrants in Buenavista, was allegedly “fraudulent.”

    Supplier Karl-Ray Merchandise was allegedly awarded the deal even when it tendered a bid of P196,265 that exceeded the approved P135,000 budget for the contract.

    Besides the price quotations being higher than the approved budget, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in an Audit Observation Memorandum the bidders also failed to submit the eligibility requirements as mandated under the Procurement Law.

    The BAC should have declared a failure of bidding, because there was no qualified bidder, COA said, adding the bidding committee “was under no obligation to award the project to a supplier which offered the lowest bid price if the same exceeded the approved budget.”

    Meanwhile, the Ombudsman also dismissed the respondents from the service after finding them guilty of grave misconduct, and meted out all the accessory penalties.

    If respondents are already separated from the service, dismissal shall be converted to a fine equivalent to their respective salaries for one year.

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