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Ex-Caloocan mayor, two others face graft raps

FORMER Caloocan City mayor Enrico Echiverri, along with two other ex-officials, is facing another graft case before the Sandiganbayan for the supposed anomalous P3.6-million road project in 2012.

Also charged were ex-city accountant Edna Centeno and ex-budget officer Jesusa Garcia for  one count of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Centeno and Garcia were also slapped with one count of falsification of public documents.

The Office of the Ombudsman said the respondents gave "unwarranted benefits and advantage" through the award of a P3.6-million contract with Tuchar Construction for the concreting of Cherry Blossom, Rose Stand and Ilang-ilang streets in Barangay 187, Caloocan City.

The transaction did not pass through the scrutiny of the city council.

According to the Ombudsman, Centeno and Garcia "feloniously" made false statements in the allot and obligation slips as to the existence of appropriation and obligation of allotment for the said project.

A P30,000 bail was recommended for each respondent in the graft case for their temporary liberty.

Another bail of P12,000 for each accused in the falsification case was recommended.

The case is the eighth graft suit filed against the former Caloocan City mayor with the Sandiganbayan.

The seven other graft cases included alleged anomalous drainage and construction projects from 2011 to 2013. 

Meanwhile, the Commission on Audit has held that former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and chief executive officer Efraim Genuino and other former board of directors culpable of disallowed donation of P2 million for a flood control project in a private village in 2010.

In a March 21 decision released just Wednesday, CoA's Commission Proper rejected Genuino's plea pertaining to the notice of disallowance issued on Feb. 20, 2013 on the drainage system improvement project in Pleasantville Subdivision, Los Baños, Laguna.

Chairman Michael Aguinaldo, and Commissioners Jose Fabia and Isabel Agito junked Genuino's claims that the donation of agency funds was valid because the project was in a public property, and that it must be considered part of Pagcor’s corporate social responsibility program.

“The arguments are untenable. The covered area by the donation is not a public property, nor is the donation for public purpose. The financial grant cannot be said to have promoted social justice to qualify under the broad interpretation of public purpose,” the commission's resolution read.

The financial assistance was granted to the Pleasant Village Homeowners’ Association “for flood control and drainage system project” in an area bordered by Waling-waling, Sanggumay, Mariposa, Rosal and Jasmin streets all located within Pleasantville Subdivision.

According to the commission, the notice of disallowance issued by the supervising auditor of Pagcor was proper since the donation was spent on a private purpose.

The former Pagcor chief invoked good faith, but CoA junked his defense.

“As chairman of the BoD, he is expected to possess the legal knowledge in the requirements and implications of such financial assistance. Hence he remains solidarily liable for the disallowed amount,” CoA said.

CoA ruled with finality the disallowance of the project, saying it could no longer entertain a petition for review.

Topics: Enrico Echiverri , Sandiganbayan , Graft case , Edna Centeno , Jesusa Garcia
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