ANOTHER CASE FOR THE OMBUDSMAN
A SECOND case has been filed against Dagupan Mayor Benjamin Lim and the first against City Administrator Vladimir Mata before the Ombudsman for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. This time it’s in relation to the alleged misuse of calamity funds in 2010.
Charges for violation of Republic Act 3019 Sec. 3, par. 3 was filed by Leo Angeles, the complainant who earlier filed a similar case against Lim and Jose Mariano Cuña in connection with the purchase of a 30-hectare lot in Barangay Awai, San Jacinto for P16 million by the Dagupan City government in 2002.
The new complaint, received by the Ombudsman for Luzon on Aug. 31, 2012, involves the release of P8.4 million from the city’s Calamity Fund by Lim on Oct. 22, 2010, following a typhoon and three days before a scheduled barangay election, without a declaration of a state of calamity by the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
The amount was declared to have been used for the purchase of relief goods for the typhoon victims but Angeles asserts that the disbursement was irregular due to the non-compliance with legal requirements and/or non-observance of procedures in the disbursement of funds by Lim and his subordinates.
Under the law, the release of calamity funds should be preceded by a declaration of a state of calamity by the local council.
The city council did not issue such a declaration at that time.
A lawyer of the city hall earlier claimed that his basis was the declaration of a state of calamity by the provincial council. Dagupan, however, is an independent component city and is not covered by the provincial declaration.
The amount released from the calamity fund was broken down into five different amounts, each one was represented by a disbursing voucher, all of which were attached to Angeles’ complaint before the Ombudsman.
Voucher No. 100-10-6224 for P3.4 million was payable to J. Corp Enterprises and the goods were delivered ahead of the resolution of the Bids and Awards Committee dated Oct. 22, 2010 as shown by the covering Purchase Order No. 10-1694 dated Oct. 18, 2010 and Charge Invoice No. 00078 dated October 18, 2010.
Records show the goods were accepted and inspected by only one person, Eduardo Magno, and no Commission on Audit (COA) inspection was made. Moreover, there was no specification when the goods were purchased and that the commodities were overpriced.
The assertion that the goods purchased were overpriced was based on comparative pricing and official receipts issued by Robinson’s Supermarket and Magic (owned by Lim).
Voucher No. 100-10-10-6295 for P2.4 million was payable to Jurick Gen. Merchandize. In this transaction, the mayor approved a purchase order No. 10-1693 on Oct. 18, 2010 without any canvass/ bidding conducted which should have been the proper procedure considering that the resolution approving the use of negotiated procurement instead of public bidding was approved on Oct. 22, 2010.
Then goods consisting of 20,000 bags of rice, noodles, coffee, sardines and sugar were reportedly delivered and received on Oct. 18, 2010 as evidenced by Charge Invoice No. 0323 issued by Lynn Magno, proprietor of Jurick Gen. Merchandise before BAC’s approval of a resolution recommending the use of alternative mode of procurement on Oct. 22, 2010.
In this purchase, Inspection and Acceptance Reports were undated, no COA inspection was also conducted, and there was no specification as to the contents of the goods that were purchased.
Voucher No. 100-10-106296 for P269, 950 was also payable to Jurick Gen. Merchandise and the same violations as in the first two were alleged.
Voucher No. 100-10-106297 for P521, 192 was payable to NVP Pharma Dist. Here, medicines were delivered on Oct. 18, 2010 as evidenced by the delivery receipt no. 0809, again ahead of the Oct. 22, 2010 BAC resolution. As in the first two, no COA inspection was made and the medicines were overpriced.
Voucher No. 100-10-10-6208 for P1.7 million was also payable to Jurick General Mdse. The delivery, as evidenced by Purchase Order No. 10-1690 dated Oct. 18, 2010 and Charge Invoice No. 0325, was made ahead of the BAC resolution.
It will be recalled that a number of the barangay chairmen had complained that they did not receive their share of the goods purchased through the calamity fund.
City hall observers noted that the details of the alleged irregular transactions were not reflected in the annual report of the city auditor.