LAWYER Lorenzo Gadon on Monday lodged graft charges before the Department of Justice against court officials involved in alleged irregularities under Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Gadon, the complainant in the impeachment effort against Sereno, asked state prosecutors to file graft charges against Sereno’s chief judicial officer, Ma. Lourdes Oliveros, staff member Michael Ocampo and information technology (IT) consultant Helen Perez-Macasaet.
They were charged with violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act because of the controversial hiring of Macasaet, who drew a salary of P250,000 a month as an IT consultant despite her supposed lack of formal training in the field.
In his complaint affidavit, Gadon stressed that only two of Macasaet’s eight contracts of service with the high court passed through the bids and awards committee, while the other six were merely renewed by Sereno.
This “splitting” of the contracts was intended “to evade competitive bidding,” in violation of the Government Procurement Reform Act, Gadon claimed.
A separate graft case was filed by Gadon against Anna-Li Papa-Gombio, deputy clerk of court en banc, and Jocelyn Fabian, a member of Sereno’s staff and chairwoman of the Legal Technical Working Group (TWG) for survivorship benefits.
During impeachment hearings at the House of Representatives, it was found that the TWG was supposed to expedite the study of retirement and other civil benefits for the spouses of justices and judges who have died.
But it was discovered that the TWG caused the delay in the grant and release of the benefits, with some claims sitting for two years instead of the previous timeframe of two weeks under the Office of the Court Administrator.