Surigao lawmaker, mayor face graft case

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THE Office of the Ombudsman has found the basis to file a graft case before the Sandiganbayan against former Surigao del Sur Rep. Peter Paul Jed Falcon, a town mayor and several others in connection with the alleged anomalous procurement of P18.9 million worth of communication equipment in 2007.

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Also charged were Lingig town Mayor Roberto Luna Jr.; then-Municipal Treasurer Ebrencio Indoyon Jr; former Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) members Jethro Lindo, Aludia De Castro, Carmelo Rebosura, and Teofilo Maymay, and; Ma. Luzviminda Lopez of Philflex Trading and General Merchandise.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved the filing of a case for alleged violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against the respondents.

According to the Ombudsman, local government officials of Lingig bought the communication equipment and accessories in 2007 using Falcon’s Congressional Initiative Fund while he was a representative of Second District, Surigao del Sur, which state auditors later found, was not received by the local government unit.

The Commission on Audit (COA) thus issued two sets of notices of disallowance for the procurement of 36 sets of long-range radio/telephone, mother base, nine units handsets, 10 units battery chargers, 10 units chargeable batteries, 10 units telephone jackets, a connector, umbrella type antenna with cable, operating manuals and 35 sets of super long-range cordless radio/telephone double base with cable and umbrella type antenna.

The Ombudsman said the project was allegedly awarded to Philflex without calling for the required public bidding. It said former BAC members Lindo, De Castro, Rebosura, and Maymay “failed to sufficiently explain the basis for their recommendation [of Direct Contracting].”

COA also observed the BAC’s alleged preference for a specific brand which, the Ombudsman said, constitutes a violation of procurement rules.

The Ombudsman’s resolution stated “the equipment was delivered to the office of [Falcon] who signed the Invoice-Receipt for Property.”

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