Ombudsman affirms graft charges vs Garcia over 'anomalous' CICC
MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has affirmed its graft charges against former Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and 11 others over the alleged anomalous Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).
The Office of the Ombudsman said in a statement on Tuesday, July 5, that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has junked the motion for reconsideration filed by Garcia who has been charged with violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act No. 3019.
This paves the way for the filing of 11 Informations before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan against Garcia, and 11 others – 10 members of the Cebu provincial bids and awards committee (BAC), and an executive of the CICC contractor.
They are BAC members Eduardo Habin, Roy Salubre, Cristina Gianco, Adolfo Quiroga, Necias Vicoy Jr, Emme Gingoyon, Glenn Baricuatro, Bernard Calderon, Marino Martinquilla and Eulogio Pelayre; and Willy Te, vice president of W.T. Construction, Incorporated (WTI).
In 2006, P830 million was spent for engineering, architectural and civil works contracts for the CICC, built as the primary venue for the 12th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings, and the second East Asia Summit in 2007.
In an 8-page Joint Order, Morales said that Garcia violated the law when she allowed WTI to perform additional works without an appropriation, contract, and public bidding. This, she said, gave the contractor unwarranted benefits and caused undue injury to the government in the amount of at least P257,413,911.73.
She also dismissed as baseless Garcia's allegation that the charges are “politically motivated," as they were made two months before the May 9 elections. Garcia was reelected as Cebu Third District Representative.
“This Office, as a dispenser of justice, ensures that justice is meted out objectively, without fear or favor, and that the cases are decided based on the evidence, not on motives, personalities or political affiliation,” Morales said.
In its March 31 resolution, the Ombudsman bared its findings that the respondents resorted to illegal procurement in the award of the components of the project.
The Ombudsman cited Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019 which sanctions a "public officer or employee who, in the performance of his official duties, has acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or inexcusable negligence, causing undue injury to any party, including the government, or has given any party unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference." – Rappler.com
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