MANILA, Philippines – Two counts of graft were filed before the Sandiganbayan yesterday against former Presidential Commission on Good Government chairperson Camilo L. Sabio and Commissioners Ricardo M. Abcede, Tereso L. Javier, Narciso S. Nario and Nicasio A. Conti in connection with alleged anomalous vehicle lease deals worth millions of pesos in 2007 and 2009.
In its 20-page resolution, the Office of the Ombudsman held that the defendants are criminally liable for entering into the lease contracts without going through a competitive public bidding.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved the resolution on Nov. 23, 2011 but the cases were only filed almost three months later. No reason was given for the delay.
The five former PCGG officials claimed they did not commit any offense since they simply availed of the alternative procurement method provided for under the law.
However, the Ombudsman said such alternative method of purchase is only allowed “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.”
“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…,” the Ombudsman said in its resolution.
Investigations showed that in 2007, 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.
The contract was for 36 months, binding PCGG to pay UCPB Leasing P153,821 monthly rental or a total of P5.93-M.
Four of the vehicles went to Sabio, Abcede, Javier and Nario.
In 2009, PCGG again entered into a second lease agreement for 4 Toyota Innovas, one Toyota Fortuner and a Nissan Frontier Navarra A/T. The Fortuner was officially issued to Sabio.
The said contract was worth P6.73-M. – Rappler.com