Bislig City Mayor Librado Navarro and 11 other officials were ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman as they were indicted for graft charges for theanomalous purchase of heavy equipment worth P14.7 million in 2012.
In a statement on Monday, the Office of the Ombudsman found Navarroand bids and awards committee (BAC) officials guilty of the administrative offense of grave misconduct,perpetually disqualifying themfrom holding public office and forfeiting their retirement benefits and eligibility.
The following are BAC officials and members who were foundadministratively liable formisconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service –BAC chairman Charlito Lerog; membersRoberto Viduya,Aprodecio Alba Jr., Felipe Sabaldan Jr., Belma Lomantas, Lorna Salgado and Daisy Ronquillo;Technical Working Group (TWG) members Raquel Bautista, Gilbert Abugan, Laila Manlucob, and Estefa Mata.
Case records showed that on July 18, 2012, Navarro and the BAC approved the purchase ofa hydraulic excavator from supplierRDAK Transport Equipment Inc.despite Commission on Audit’s (COA) notice of disallowance due to alleged non-compliance with the technical specifications concerning engine power, bucket capacity and operating weight.
The Ombudsman said the officials allegedly committed a corrupt act forfailing to exercise due diligence and giving undue advantage to the supplier during the bidding process and in the subsequentaward of the supply contract .
The Ombudsman said: “The TWG’s manipulation of data in its report; the award of the supply contract to RDAK despite the fact that it did not truthfully present in its bid the Komatsu PC200-8’s specifications, and the bidding was a failure as none of the bidders’ proposals were responsive; coupled with respondents going for RDAK’s less superior unit notwithstanding its glaringly higher price, all show respondents’ bad faith and manifest partiality toward the said supplier.”
“By respondent’s concerted acts clearly favoring RDAK, they accorded it the benefit, advantage and preference it did not deserve. Such acts are clearly willful in character and evince respondents’ flagrant disregard of their duty to protect the public interest,” the Ombudsman said.
In August 2017, the Ombudsman filed one count of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Navarro andaforementioned officials in connection with the alleged irregular purchase.
According to Section 3(e) of the anti-graft law, public officials are prohibited from causing any undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. By CLC