Peña faces graft charges for Makati's undelivered sports goods
MANILA, Philippines – Former Makati acting mayor Romulo "Kid" Peña Jr was charged with graft and falsification of documents over the allegedly anomalous purchase of sports supplies worth P823,000.
Makati's Youth and Sports Development Department (YSDD) Head Marlyn King filed the complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against Peña, other city officials, and a contractor:
- Ernesto Lopez – YSDD OIC
- Amalia Santos – Treasurer's Office OIC
- Carmina Lazaro – Supplies Inspector
- Helena Cejalvo – Supplies Inspector
- Ramilia Cruzado – General Services Department OIC
- Sonia Suarez – Supplies Chief
- Fe Villasin – YSDD Recreation Officer
- John Co – President, PMPI Creative Suites Incorporated
The complaint stems from the purchase of sports supplies for the city's Sports, Music, Arts, and Recreational Training (SMART) program from February to May 2016, when Peña was still the city's acting chief, after former mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr was dismissed by the Ombudsman over graft charges.
According to King, not all items bought from PMPI Creative Suites were actually delivered to the city. Peña and the other officials, however, supposedly certified that all items which were paid for had already been delivered.
The items include tarpaulins, basketballs, volleyballs, footballs, table tennis balls, medals, and certificates.
King cited an affidavit executed by YSDD Operations Officer Gertrudis Ramirez, who said she earlier noticed the discrepancy in the number of items but was assured by the respondents that the items have been completely delivered.
"It was only when we conducted the inventory that Ms Ramirez learned that there was in fact no complete delivery contrary to the representations made by respondents Cejalvo, Lopez, and Villasin," King said in the complaint.
King said her office got in touch with PMPI Creative Suites, which said there would be another delivery. The complaint did not specify how many items remain undelivered.
"It is clear that respondent Peña failed to perform his duty in ensuring that the transactions were being conducted in accordance with the law... Respondent Peña chose and designated respondents Lopez and Cruzado as the officers-in-charge of the departments involved. All these respondents were close associates of respondent Peña," King said in the complaint.
Peña said he will need to read the complaint first before he can comment, and added he will file a counter-affidavit in due time.
"We will clarify the matter and the details once and for all so the public may know. We are firm in our stand that all projects / programs implemented under my tenure are aboveboard, as we initiated the first open bidding system in the city hall through our transparency and good governance policy," he said.
In the 2016 elections, Peña ran for mayor against Abigail Binay on the platform of good governance. He often hit the Binay family for alleged corruption during their decades-long rule in Makati City, and claimed Abigail Binay defeated him in the polls through "massive vote-buying." – Rappler.com