Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has found probable cause to charge former Governor Neil Tupas Sr. of Iloilo and three others for violation of the Anti-Graft Law over alleged overpayment of unconsumed electricity worth P4 million to Green Core Geothermal, Inc. (Green Core).
The Ombudsman also found probable cause to charge Provincial Accountant Lyd Tupas, Assistant Department Head Sandra Bionat and General Services Department Head Ramie Salcedo, who are all suspended for one year after they were found guilty of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and Neglect of Duty.
It stemmed from a complaint involving a 2007 contract between Tupas Sr. and the National Power Corporation, which the Office of the Ombudsman said was later assumed by Green Core, for the bulk supply of electric energy from September 26, 2007 to December 25, 2011.
“Anticipating the completion of the proposed construction of the Iloilo Multi-Purpose Convention Center, the supply contract provided for an increase in the contracted energy from 185,000kWh/month to 400,000kWh/month,” the anti-graft body said in a statement.
Because of the non-construction of the convention center in December 2009, Tupas allegedly requested the adjustment and reduction of the contract energy from 400,000kWh/month to 17,000kWh/month.
However, Green Core in response allegedly applied the adjustment only for the period covering June 26, 2010 to December 25, 2011.
“As a result, Green Core was paid the amount representing the contracted energy of 1,084,814.50 kWh although the actual energy consumption of Iloilo was only 515,180.50kWh,” the anti-graft body said.
The Commission on Audit had issued a Notice of Disallowance dated January 2011.
In the Joint Resolution, Ombudsman Morales said that “respondents cannot sweepingly claim that they merely certified the disbursement documents.