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Criminal Law

Ombudsman dismisses Bislig City Mayor for Grave Misconduct

Date: 11 September 2017; Type: Legal News; Source: Office of the Ombudsman

The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed Bislig City, Surigao del Sur Mayor Librado Navarro for Grave Misconduct for the anomalous purchases in 2012 of a hydraulic excavator worth P14,750,000.00. It also meted on Navarro the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service.

Also ordered dismissed are Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairman Charlito Lerog (City Administrator); BAC members City Treasurer Roberto Viduya, City Planning Development Coordinator Aprodecio Alba Jr., General Services Officer Felipe Sabaldan Jr., City Budget Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Belma Lomantas, OIC-City Engineer Lorna Salgado, and City Legal Officer Daisy Ronquillo; and Technical Working Group (TWG) members City Accountant Raquel Bautista, Gilbert Abugan, Laila Manlucob, and Estefa Mata.

The case stemmed from the questionable purchase by the city government of a Komatsu crawler-type hydraulic excavator worth P14.7 million from RDAK Transport Equipment Inc. on 18 July 2012. The Commission on Audit (COA) Evaluation Report showed that the project was awarded to RDAK despite non-compliance with the technical specifications concerning the engine power, bucket capacity and operating weight. Due to questions that attended the procurement, the COA issued a Notice of Disallowance on 23 October 2012.  It was also found out that RDAK did not truthfully present the specification of the Komatsu unit in its bid.

The Decision stated that “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,” it added.

Misconduct is the unlawful behavior or gross negligence by a public officer. The misconduct is grave if it involves elements of corruption, such as willful intent to violate the law or to disregard established rules.

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