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Ombudsman Morales files graft raps vs. former DA Chief, Quedancor execs

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the filing of graft charges against former Agriculture Secretary Luis Ramon Lorenzo, Jr., and officials of the Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corporation (Quedancor) and Metro Livestock Incorporated, in connection with the implementation of the Quedancor Swine Program (QSP).

Lack of Public Bidding in the QSP Guidelines
In a Resolution dated July 12, 2013, Ombudsman Morales found probable cause to indict Lorenzo, Quedancor President and CEO Nelson Buenaflor, Quedancor Governing Board members/representatives Wilfredo Domo-ong, Romeo Lanciola, Nellie Ilas, and Jesus Simon for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

Established in 2004, the QSP is a credit program intended to support swine raisers in their swine fattening and breeding activities.

Under the program, a farmer-borrower may apply for a loan with Quedancor, the proceeds of which were not given in cash but in the form of input supplies like hogs, gilts, feeds, medicines and technical assistance which were to be claimed through a purchase order issued by a Quedancor district office and presented to one of the accredited Input Suppliers.

The Resolution stated that the non-compliance with the required public bidding resulted in damages because Quedancor lacked recourse against the suppliers for late deliveries or non-deliveries since the suppliers were not made to post a performance bond or contractor’s surety bond which is required under R.A. No. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act).

“[I]nput supplies amounting to P47,465,614 were not delivered to the borrowers as of year-end 2005 despite the advance payment therefor by the Quedancor to the I[nput] S[uppliers],” the Resolution underscored, citing the COA report.

The Resolution characterized the procurement of swine inputs as a contract of sale between Quedancor and Metro Livestock, and hence should have been subjected to competitive bidding under R.A. No. 9184.

It cited the Commission on Audit (COA) 2005 report that classified the QSP as a ”loan in kind” wherein the borrowers had no freedom to choose the suppliers as they did not have any control over the supposed monetary proceeds of the loan.

The COA report pointed out the procedures undertaken by Quedancor that necessarily made it the “purchaser” of the swine inputs, such as entering into contracts with the input suppliers using Quedancor’s own purchase orders, approval of government vouchers, drawing of checks against the account of Quedancor, and process of approval of Quedancor officials.

With respect to respondents’ reliance on an Opinion of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) that there was no procurement involved in the QSP, the Resolution explained that (i) the OGCC Opinion was issued two years after the QSP consolidated guidelines were issued and thus could not have been relied upon by the Quedancor officials in approving the program, and (ii) the OGCC Opinion was based on the misrepresentation that Quedancor’s role was limited only to accrediting the input suppliers.

Ineligibility of Metro Livestock
Likewise charged for violation of Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019 were Rhomady Bernabe, Quedancor Regional Assistant Vice President for Regional Office No. 4, along with Metro Livestock General Manager Joel Salazar, Metro Livestock incorporators/directors Excel Salazar, Francis Edison Peña, Teresa Adille and Santiago Baldado.

The Resolution found that Metro Livestock was allowed to participate in the QSP even if it failed to comply with the accreditation and eligibility requirements such as the two-year prior operation, and the necessary license from the appropriate government agency like the Livestock Development Division of the Bureau of Animal Industry.

Quedancor awarded purchase contracts in the form of purchase orders to Metro Livestock in the amount of P48,606,750 in Mindoro province alone, despite it having a paid-up capital of only P62,500.

Other Respondents Cleared
Meanwhile, the charges as against Susana Leones, Celia Tan, Don Jomar Olegario, Meynardo Morilla, Mary Jean Aguila Dela Cruz, Enrique Hoseña, Lita Cabungcal, Marilyn Jayagan and Lorenzo Toleos were dismissed for lack of probable cause, while that against Ruben Conti and Guillermo Cua were dismissed in view of their death in 2008.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ombudsman Morales dismisses 13 Finance execs over P82-M tax credit scam

At least 13 officials of the Department of Finance were dismissed for the role in the infamous tax credit scam that defrauded the government of some P82 million some 18 years ago.

In ordering the dismissal of the 13 officials, Ombudsman Conchita Morales resolves the first batch of the cases surrounding the tax credit scam. A 14th official has already retired.

Found guilty of grave misconduct and meted the penalty of dismissal from the service were:
former Finance Undersecretary and One-Stop Shop Inter-Agency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center OIC-Administrator Antonio Belicena
former Deputy Administrator Uldarico Andutan, Jr.
reviewers Rowena Malonzo and Asuncion Magdaet
evaluators Gemma Ortiz-Abarra, Annabelle Diño, Emelita Tizon, Purita Napenas, Charmelle Recoter, Melrose Tordesillas, Gregoria Cuento-Evangelio, Mark Binsol, Cherry Gomez and Sylviana Daguimol
They also face the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from re-employment in the government service.

However, Belicena would face the accessory penalties as he had retired from government service.

“Since Belicena had already retired from the government service, he was meted the accessory penalties,” the Ombudsman said.

The decision stemmed from the complaint of Special Presidential Task Force 156 alleging anomalous issuances by the DOF of 110 Tax Credit Certificates (TCC’s) worth P82,519,235 to Integrated Multi Cotton Mills, Inc. (IMCMI) by the DOF.

IMCMI was found to have obtained the TCCs using fake documents and transferred them to the following corporations:

- Wise & Co.
– Bush Boake Allen Phils.
– Filsyn Corporation
– Hi-Lon Manufacturing Co.
– Canlubang Spinning Mills
– Pacific Mills, Inc.
– Golden Dragon Textile Mills, Inc.
– First Unity Textile
– Padoson Stainless Steel
– Pacific Mills
– Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation.

Charges vs one-stop shop officials

Morales also ordered the filing of criminal charges before the Sandiganbayan against former officials of the One-Stop Shop Inter-Agency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center (Center) for the anomalous issuance of TCC’s amounting to P74.84 million.

In separate Resolutions, she ordered the filing of 20 counts of Violation of the anti-graft law against Belicena and Andutan.

Former OIC-Net Local Content/Net Value Equivalent and Domestic Capital Equipment Raul de Vera was ordered charged with 19 counts each of the said offenses.

Former Senior Tax Specialist Brandy Marzan was ordered charged four counts each; Senior Tax Specialist Rosanna Diala, 14 counts each; Tax Specialist/ Evaluator Gregoria Cuento-Evangelio, one count each; comptroller Reynaldo Maghirang, three counts each; Reviewer Asuncion Magdaet, one count each; and Evaluator Purita Napenas, one count each.

Also ordered charged were private respondents:

- Honorato Lacsina (President, Liberty Transport Inc.), three counts each
– Joseph Cabotaje, 16 counts each
– Ramon Rodriguez (President, R.A. Rodriguez Bus Line), seven counts each
– Candido Potenciano (President, Batangas Laguna Tayabas Bus Company), three counts each
– Joselito Tengco (Manager,Baliwag Transit, Inc), three counts each
– Henry Tumala, (President, Lamborghini Transit, Inc), three counts each
– Charles Uy, Ma Uy Yu, Yu Chin Tong and Emerito Guballa (officers/employees of Nikko Textile Mills, Inc.), one count each.

The respondents were ordered charged with the said offenses for the issuance of 20 TCCs amounting to P74.84 million using spurious documents, including:

- P17.3 million to the BLTB
– P9.4 million to Baliwag Transit
– P19.092 million to Rodriguez Bus Line
– P12.05 million to Liberty Transport
– P14.6 million to Lamborghini Transit
– P2.4 million to Nikko Textile.

The Center was created under Administrative Order No. 226 dated February 7, 1992 primarily to process tax credit and duty drawback applications as incentives to BOI-registered enterprises.

Incentives consisted of government refund payments on the duties and taxes.

Plunder vs Chingkoe

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman referred to the Office of the Special Prosecutor the motion to include private respondent Felix Chingkoe, president of Diamond Knitting Corp., in the plunder charges filed against several DOF officials and other officials of the Chingkoe group of companies.

The case has been undergoing trial before the Sandiganbayan.

“This Office is no longer in a position to act on the aforesaid motion given the fact that the Sandiganbayan has already acquired jurisdiction over the said cases,” Morales said. — LBG, GMA News

 

 

 

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NO TRO FOR DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN GONZALEZ, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR SULIT

The disciplinary action imposed by Malacanang against Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III and Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit will stay.

This, after the Supreme Court denied their motion that a temporary restraining order be issued against Malacanang to stop the implementation of the suspension order imposed on them.

Gonzelez has been dismissed by Malacanang after he was found guilty of neglect of duty and gross misconduct for allegedly demanding P150,000 from hostage taker Captain Rolando Mendoza to facilitate his criminal case pending before the Office of the Ombudsman while Sulit was suspended in connection with her involvement on the plea bargaining agreement with former military comptroller Carlos Garcia.

“The temporary restraining order is denied for lack of merit. The decision of the Palace stays while their petition is being considered by the Court,” high court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said.

Gonzalez and Sulit filed their separate petitions before the Supreme Court questioning Malacanang’s jurisdiction to impose disciplinary action on them.

In his petition, Gonzalez asked the high court to issue a status quo order and require Malacanang to cease and desist from implementing its order of dismissal against him.

Gonzalez maintained that the Office of the Ombudsman is an independent body as stated under Article XI of the 1987 Constitution.2) of Republic Act 6770 or the Ombudsman Act.
“Based on the foregoing considerations, it is a serious fallacy for respondents to insist that the Office of the President has concurrent jurisdiction with the Ombudsman over public officials. It does not follow that when this HonorableCourt declares the Ombudsman’s disciplinary power to be concurrent with other heads of offices or departments, the Office of the President automatically shares this power over all public officials or employees,” Gonzalez said in his petition.
Meanwhile, Sulit, in her separate petition also maintained that the Office of the President has no jurisdiction to pursue administrative proceedings against her.
She contends that the grant to the President of the power to remove a Deputy or Special Prosecutor from officer under Section 8 of the Ombudsman’s Act of 1989 in “unconstitutional and void” because it negates the independence sought to be attained in the creation of the Office of the Ombudsman.
Malacanang, last March 24 directed Sulit to explain why no administrative proceedings be conducted against her in connection with the controversial plea bargaining they have entered into with former Military comptroller Carlos Garcia.
Malacanang was prompted to start an administrative proceeding against Sulit upon recommendation of Congress that she should be dismissed from service due to gross inexcusable negligence, ignorance of the law, lack of professionalism and dereliction of duty. (inq.net)

 

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DE LIMA HAILS APPOINTMENT OF MORALES AS OMBUDSMAN

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila De Lima on Monday hailed the appointment of retired Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales as the next Ombudsman.

President Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino III announced the appointment of Carpio-Morales as Ombudsman during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered at the joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate at the opening of the second regular session of the 15th Congress.

Morales reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 on June 19, 2011. She will fill up the post vacated by Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez who resigned effective May 6, 2011.

De Lima expressed confidence in the appointment of Carpio-Morales as Ombudsman.

De Lima believes that Carpio-Morales has both the moral and intellectual characteristics to live up to the challenge to head the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman).

De Lima said that Carpio-Morales has a proven track record and very highly independent person needed in the Office of the Ombudsman.

 

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