The Office of the Ombudsman has indicted a Samar mayor for 16 counts of graft over the anomalous procurement of catering services in 2012.
It ordered the filing of charges against Mayor Jocelyn Uy-de Jesus of Jiabong town, along with budget officer Arnaldo Morabor, treasurer Erna Morabor, accountant Rolando Jabeguero and private respondent Helen Labrague, proprietor of Helen’s Catering Services.
The resolution read: “It is undisputed that the value of the 16 catering transactions exceeded the threshold set by law, yet public respondent Arnaldo proceeded with the procurement thereof without public bidding.
“Despite the patent irregularities in the supporting documents, public respondents De Jesus, Erna and Jabeguero still caused payment to private respondent [Labrague].
“Public respondents’ flagrant disregard of Republic Act No. 9184 is evidenced by the fact that they committed the infractions 16 times in 2012.”
In the related administrative case, Arnaldo, Erna and Jabeguero were found guilty of grave misconduct and were ordered dismissed from the service.
Arnaldo was also found guilty of serious dishonesty.
In an annual audit report, the Commission on Audit uncovered the municipality disbursed a P2,617,912.50 for the procurement of 32 catering service contracts, 16 of which were awarded to Helen’s Catering Services.
CoA found the respondents illegally resorted to the alternative method of procurement even if the approved budget for the contract for the individual transactions exceeded the thresholds set by Republic Act 9184 or Government Procurement Reform Act.
Moreover, investigation also uncovered that supporting documents did not contain details, such as the dates of activity; purchase requests, purchase orders and disbursement vouchers are undated and without any control or reference numbers; lack of quotations from suppliers who allegedly submitted their canvass; non-submission of eligibility documents of supplier and lack of accomplished requests for quotation.
CoA noted a low turnout of participants in the activities wherein the municipality failed to submit any attendance sheets.