Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales denied the appeal of Cebu Rep. Gwen Garcia in connection with the P830 million graft case she is facing over the construction of the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) project in 2006.
In an eight-page Joint Order, Morales argued that Garcia’s act of allowing contractor W.T. Construction, Inc. (WTI) to perform additional works without budget appropriation, contract and public bidding gave the contractor unwarranted benefits and caused undue injury to the government in the amount of P257,413,911.73.
“Garcia’s claim that the charges are politically motivated is baseless. This Office, as a dispenser of justice, ensures that justice is meted out objectively, without fear or favor, and that the cases are decided based on the evidence, not on motives, personalities or political affiliation,” the Ombudsman said.
Aside from Garcia, 11 others were also charged, including Bids and Awards Committee members Eduardo Habin, Roy Salubre, Cristina Gianco, Adolfo Quiroga, Necias Vicoy Jr., Emme Gingoyon, Glenn Baricuatro, Bernard Calderon, Marino Martinquilla and Eulogio Pelayre, and WTI Vice President Willy Te.
Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act sanctions a public officer or employee who, in the performance of his official duties, has acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or inexcusable negligence, causing undue injury to any party, including the government, or has given any party unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference.
Morales has issued an adverse Resolutionagainst Garcia on March 31 finding her and her co-accused liable for illegal procurement when they awarded the P16.8 million architectural and engineering design contract; P307 million combined structural steel contracts; P59 million adjacent/contiguous works; P7.5 million cladding contract; P1.8 million structural cabling system; P3.6 million fire protection/sprinkler system; P3.4 million glass works and P26.5 million air-conditioning to WTI.