Saturday, February 18, 2012

News Update Ombudsman takes 5 ex-PCGG officials to anti-graft court

The Office of the Ombudsman on Monday accused five former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) officials before the Sandiganbayan, saying they were involved in graft.
Filed before the Sandiganbayan were two counts of graft each against former PCGG chair Camilo L. Sabio and Commissioners Ricardo M. Abcede, Tereso L. Javier, Narciso S. Nario and Nicasio A. Conti for anomalous vehicle lease deals worth millions of pesos in 2007 and 2009.
The defendants are criminally liable for entering into the lease contracts without going through a competitive public bidding, the Office of the Ombudsman claimed in its 20-page resolution.
The resolution was approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Nov. 23, 2011.
The PCGG officials argued against the accusations, saying they employed an alternative procurement method under the law. The Ombudsman noted such alternative method is only permitted “where immediate action is necessary to prevent damage to or loss of life or property, restore vital public service, infrastructure facilities and other public utilities.”
The Ombudsman said in the resolution, “Certainly, circumstances surrounding the lease of the vehicles in question indubitably show that the complained transaction is outside the ambit of extra-ordinary situations contemplated by the procurement law and the PCGG Charter...”
According to government investigators, the PCGG leased three units of Hyundai Starex vans, one Toyota Altis 2.0 sedan, and one Toyota Innova 2.0 van from the United Coconut Planters Bank-Leasing and Finance Corp. for 36 months starting in 2007.
The contract kept PCGG in a bind, paying UCPB Leasing P153,821 a month or P5.93 million for the duration of the lease contract.
Four of the vehicles went to Sabio, Abcede, Javier and Nario.
Again, in 2009, the PCGG entered into another lease agreement covering four Toyota Innovas, one Toyota Fortuner and a Nissan Frontier Navarra A/T. The Fortuner was officially issued to Sabio.