ZAMBALES, Philippines – A locator in this former US naval based has filed criminal and administrative complaints against two senior officials of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) at the Office of Ombudsman-Luzon.
In a 7-page complaint affidavit dated April 22, Fahrenheit Company Limited (FCL) accused Jerome Marvin Martinez, general manager of SBMA seaport department; and Charo Peñaflor, the department’s section chief of the billing section of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Ombudsman Act of 1989, and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Isagani Cabrera, FCL general manager, president, and CEO, filed the complaint on behalf of the company. The company accused Martinez and Peñaflor of dishonesty, gross misconduct, grave abuse of authority, and oppression.
Baseless, inflated port charges
On December 4, 2014, the SBMA Seaport Department imposed on FCL port charges in the amount of P777,187 ($17,545.78) and $32,500 supposedly incurred prior to November 13, 2014, when Martinez issued FCL a certification of “Zero Accountability” with the Seaport Department, and imposed port charges against a vessel that was still in custody.
The port charges include the following:
- Lease at Kipping’s Point (June 2014 to October 2014)
- Storage fee at yellow lane (November 1 to December 1, 2014)
- Vessel charges from Glenn Ocean Support (March 1 to November 30, 2014)
- Vessel charges for the two fenders (August 12 to October 21, 2014)
FCL, however, argued that it has no lease at Kipping’s Point. Instead, it was Glenn Defense Marine Asia Philippines, a separate entity that was leasing the area from SBMA.
The firm bought Ocean Support from GDMAP but it remained under custodia egis of the Olongapo City RTC-75 until June 9, 2014, and the Makati RTC-148 until February 27, 2015.
But on January 27 and March 12, 2015, FCL again received statements of accounts from Martinez amounting to P1.23 million ($27.77 million) and $67,596, and P780,407 ($17,614.58) and $67,062, respectively, for the same items.
An additional item – vessel charges for 20 fenders (August 12 to October 21, 2014) – was listed in the January 27 statement of accounts.
FCL, through its counsel, made an appealed on the port charges supposedly incurred prior to November 13, 2014.
But instead of correcting his alleged flip-flopping decisions or explain the port charges in question, Martinez tossed the matter to the SBMA Legal Department which forced the Subic locator to pay the “inexistent” port charges to avoid harassment from the respondents.
“Due to such continuous and repetitive billing of baseless and inflated port charges, Fahrenheit has suffered from needless harassment by respondents,” FCL said in its complaint-affidavit.
It is also asking for the immediate preventive suspension of Martinez and Peñaflor from office to avoid any act that may prejudice the just, fair, and independent disposition of the cases filed against them.
Rappler tried to reach Martinez through his office and mobile phone numbers but could not be reached for comment as of posting.
A secretary named “Karen” from the office of the general manager of the seaport department told Rappler that Martinez is on leave. – Rappler.com
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