THE Office of the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia and eight others after they were found guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty over alleged bidding irregularities in the procurement of office furniture and fixtures in 2008.
Also ordered dismissed from the service were Goldwyn Nifras, former secretary to the mayor; then-City Budget Officer Luzviminda Treyes; Nelson Sedillo Sr., then-Department of Public Services head; then-City Engineers Belly Aguillon, Aladino Agbones, and Jaries Ebenizer Encabo; then-City Accountant Eduardo Ravena and then-City Treasurer Annabelle Badajos.
The penalty of dismissal is convertible to a fine equivalent to the respondent’s one year salary in case he or she is no longer in government service.
A case for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act was subsequently filed before the Sandiganbayan against them.
Based on a statement issued by the Ombudsman on Monday, the procurement was awarded to Comfac Corporation and the city government paid P49,059,696.81 for it.
The alleged bidding irregularities involved the supposed “unlawful conversion of Comfac’s bid security of P500,000 and treating it as the bidder’s performance bond.”
A mere purchase order for a multimillion-peso project was also allegedly issued instead of a contract as required under the procurement law, and the deal was allegedly awarded to the supplier even if the latter has not met the city’s eligibility requirements.
There was also an alleged “failure to exercise due diligence in the computation of liquidated damages against the supplier in view of repeated delays in delivery.”
“[A]s city mayor, Leonardia is duty-bound to exercise general supervision and control over all programs, projects, services and activities of the city government, including examining the books, records and documents of all offices,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said.
The dismissal order — which is immediately executory unless the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals issues a temporary restraining order — carries the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, forfeiture of retirement benefits, cancellation of civil service eligibility, and a prohibition on taking the civil service examination.