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PAMPANGA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman ordered a mayor of a Pampanga town removed from office even as it approved the filing of criminal cases against him and several others for allegedly engaging in alleged anomalous purchases of road construction materials from a single supplier in 2009 and 2010.
Teddy Tumang, the mayor of Mexico town, is facing indictment on 64 counts of graft and seven counts of malversation of public documents.
Facing the same charges are local officials including Marlon Maniacup, chair of the bids and awards committee (BAC), as well as committee members Lucila Agento, Jesus Punzalan, Luz Bondoc, and Romeo Razo.
Businessman William Colis of Buyu Trading and Construction is also among those charged.
Municipal accountant Perlita Lagman faces 23 counts of graft and seven counts of malversation of public funds.
Tumang, Punzalan, Bondoc, and Lagman have also been found guilty of grave misconduct and have been ordered to be dismissed from their positions. The order was issued on Friday, August 25.
“I’ll give an update later. I’m okay. Yesterday when they served it, I wanted things to be peaceful, so I didn’t resist or anything because I’ll fight this through the legal process. It’s not like others who put up barricades. Although someone requested that we should barricade ourselves. I said we should just fight through the proper forum,” Tumang said.
He declined to say more, stressing that he will talk to his lawyer first.
The Ombudsman filed the charges due to an alleged “manifest partiality” in construction materials procurement from the sole supplier, Buyu Trading.
During an on-site audit by the Commission on Audit (COA), it came to light that Buyu Trading was registered as a residential property.
The Ombudsman stated, “Respondents’ actions are wrongful and motivated by an intentional purpose of giving favor or benefit to Buyu, notwithstanding its questionable capacity as a supplier, causing damage to the government in the aggregate amount of the procurements.”
The Ombudsman said the COA also found out that between 2007 and 2010, 271 transactions were exclusively awarded to Buyu, despite other dealers.
Based on the Government Procurement Reform Act, and its accompanying Implementing Rules and Regulations, an unforeseen contingency is required before resorting to shopping, an alternate procurement method.
The Ombudsman said, “Public respondents failed to demonstrate that unforeseen contingencies existed at the time of procuring the base course and other materials.”
All the criminal charges will be brought to the Regional Trial Court. – with reports from Joann Manabat/Rappler.com