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Ex-Surigao mayor, 12 others charged with graft over anomalous tractor deal

Former Cantilan, Surigao del Sur mayor Tomasa Guardo and 12 others were charged before the Sandiganbayan for the alleged anomalous purchase of a P2.2-million worth farm tractor in 2005. Photo DA

A former Surigao del Sur mayor was charged before the Sandiganbayan for the alleged anomalous purchase of a farm tractor worth P2.2 million.

The Ombudsman ,in a statement Wednesday, said it filed graft charges against former Cantilan municipal mayor Tomasa Guardo for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Also charged with graft were municipal treasurer Anita Paradiang, municipal accountant Ronaldo Gruyal, Bids and Awards Committee ( BAC) vice-chairman Augusto Duero, and BAC members Marilou Cosmiano, Ruben Liwagon, D. Urbiztondo Pasco and George Arreza, Inspection committee chair Reynaldo Orpina, vice-chair Marlyn Plaza, and members Luis Daano and Eutemio Urbiztondo.

Also named as private respondent was Joseph Sy, president of Golden Harvest Global Corporation.

The charge stemmed from the municipal government’s purchase of a farm tractor which fell short of required specifications and compliance with procurement procedures.

In 2005, the respondents awarded the contract to Golden Harvest for the purchase of a horsepower farm tractor with a contract price of P2.2-million.

But Ombudsman prosecutors alleged that the farm tractor supplied by Golden Harvest was substandard and contrary to the technical specification in the contract of 18 forward and two reverse transmission gears and 1,972-kg. lifting capacity as it only has eight forward and two reverse transmission gears and 1,372-kilogram lifting capacity.

The ombudsman further alleged Golden Harvest was declared as winning bidder despite BAC’s failure to conduct a post-qualification assessment in violation of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Despite the alleged specification discrepancy, the municipal officials still accepted the delivered item and certified that it complied with the technical specifications, “thereby causing undue injury to the government in the amount of P220,00.00 as computed by the Commission on Audit,” the ombudsman said.

State prosecutors have recommended to the anti-graft court to set the respondent’s bail bond at P30,000 each. By CLC

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