• North Cotabato governor faces graft raps


    THE Ombudsman has found sufficient grounds to file three counts of graft before the Sandiganbayan against North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza for the alleged illegal procurement of diesel fuel in 2010.

    The charges were for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

    The Ombudsman alleged that the fuel, which was worth P2.4 million, was bought from a gasoline station owned by the governor’s mother without calling for a public bidding.

    In a statement issued Friday, the Ombudsman said Mendoza allegedly approved the release of P2.4 million from provincial funds to pay for 49,526.72 liters of fuel used for one road grader and four dump trucks, which were utilized in the two-day road rehabilitation projects.

    Mendoza, whom the Ombudsman alleged to have directly contracted with a gasoline station, said “it was only the Taliño Shell Station that was willing to accommodate the credit term requested by the provincial government.”

    But Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales held that “there was no compelling justification for dispensing with the requirement of public bidding.”

    Only 552 liters of diesel were actually consumed while 20,833 liters were actually paid for, according to the Ombudsman.

    “[T]he great disparity between the estimated 552 liters of diesel actually consumed for the two-day road maintenance project in Magpet vis-à-vis the 20,833 liters actually paid for, is proof that the fuel-purchase transaction is illegal and that this transaction is obviously a scheme to pocket government funds,” the Ombudsman resolution said.

    It added, “[Respondent] made it appear that the diesel fuel was procured and used in a government project when in truth, only a small portion of the fuel was actually used and the rest was converted to cash for the benefit of those who were involved in the fraudulent transaction.” REINA TOLENTINO



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