OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the filing of graft charges against former Philippine Air Force (PAF) officers and private contractors in connection with the irregular transaction of government projects of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Dental Service Center and 1351st Dental Clinic worth more than P5 million.
In an 11-page Resolution, Ombudsman Morales ordered the indictment of BGen. Francisco C. Callelero (Retired), Col. Jaime B. Rodrigo (Retired), Col. Carlito E. Besorio (Retired), Major Rony P. Cubar, Capt. Ramir L. Llagas (Retired) and private contractor, Engr. Eric L. Muros of Elm Elek-Tru, for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019 ( Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act);
Callelero, Rodrigo, Besorio, Cubar, Llagas and private contractor Basilio P. De Guzman of Guzi Enterprises for two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019;
For Callelero, Rodrigo, Besorio, Cubar, Llagas three separate counts of violation of Section 3(g) of RA 3019.
The case stemmed from a letter-complaint filed by former AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo A. David on the delay in the accomplishment and unsatisfactory result of the repair / rehabilitation of the AFP Dental Service Center (AFPDSC) and 1351st Dental Clinic.
Upon audit by the Office of the Internal Auditor of the AFP, the following findings were discovered:
1. Lack of detailed engineering specifications resulted in additional scope of works;
2. Construction defects noted on the post/bean/cracked walls/inferior quality of floor tiles and sub-standard corrugated GI sheets installed;
3. Discrepancies of amount stated in the Deeds Of Agreement between 335th aviation engineering wing and Guzie Enterprises and Elm Elec-Tru Products;
4. Discrepancy in the Deeds of Agreement and Purchase Orders on the actual amount expended for the rehabilitation projects;
5. Discrepancy in the amount requested by the former and incumbent Chief Engineer for additional fund support for the 1351th dental clinic project completion;
6. Doubtful/ questionable addresses of the dealer/supplier indicated in the PO’s/sales invoices and the capability to undertake the projects;
7. Doubtful / Questionable Deeds of Agreements;
8. Doubtful receipts/sales invoices attached to the Purchase Orders;
9. Shopping was the mode of procurement used and splitting of PO’s was observed; and
10. Newly procured dental equipment cannot be installed/ utilized due to delay in project completion.
Records revealed that the rehabilitation of the 1351st Dental and AFPDSC building per directive of the Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force must be undertaken by administration.
However, the supply of labor was outsourced to private contractors as evidenced by the three Deeds of Agreement entered into by 355th Aviation Engineering Wing, Basa Air Base, Pampanga without the benefit of public bidding as required by RA No. 9184.
Despite ample time given to the respondents, only respondents Cubar and Llagas submitted their respective counter affidavits.
Since the issue on splitting of contracts raised in the original complaint emanating from the former AFP Chief of Staff were not addressed during the fact-finding and preliminary investigation, the Ombudsman approved the conduct of a separate fact-finding investigation on the issue.
“Clearly, being signatories in the three contracts in their official capacities, public respondents [Callelero, Rodrigo, Besorio, Cubar, Capt. Llagas] took advantage of their official positions and private respondents [Muros and De Guzman] connived to do away with the mandated public bidding for their personal benefit and to the disadvantage of the government,” the Resolution stated.