• Ombudsman files graft raps vs ex-Palawan gov

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    The Office of the Ombudsman has filed 36 counts of graft against former Palawan governor Mario Joel Reyes and other related violation of procurement law charges against 41 others before the Sandiganbayan over the P1.53 billion worth of 209 contracts involving Malampaya natural gas plant royalties from 2008 to 2009.

    The Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon accused Reyes and company of conspiring to commit the crime since the Provincial Engineering Office came up with bogus evaluation of at least P461.7 million worth of infrastructure contracts not compliant with the procurement law.

    State prosecutors argued that the Engineering Office under Reyes made it appear that the projects–roads, schools and daycare centers–were completed in the above-mentioned years when they were not.

    Also among the contractors who bagged big-ticket deals sourced from the supposed anomalous contracts include BCT Trading and Construction (80 contracts worth P722.75 million) and R.C. Tagala Construction (14 contracts worth P301.46 million).

    BCT is located in Puerto Princesa, while R.C. Tagala is in Narra.

    Reyes is already in prison for the alleged murder of environmentalist and broadcaster Gerry Ortega in January 2011.

    LLANESCA T. PANTI

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