By: Gail T. Momblan
FORMER Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel “Boy” Mejorada filed another administrative complaint against Iloilo governor Arthur Defensor Sr. and other top officials of the Iloilo provincial government.
The complaint charged Defensor and company for alleged grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the service relative to the procurement the contract for “Professional Services (Consultancy) for Master Planning, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture” for the Iloilo provincial government complex.
Aside from the governor, the other respondents include Dr. Raul N. Banias, former Provincial Administrator; Atty. Dennis Ventilacion, chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC); Engr. Gracianito N. Lucero, head of the Provincial Engineers Office; Aaron Raymundo, BAC member; Mr. Tony Muralla, BAC member; Atty. Suzette Mamon, executive assistant to the Governor and head of the Claims Assistance Unit (CAU); and Mr. Anthony Arthur D. Fernandez, BAC secretariat.
Mejorada formally filed the case before the Office of the Ombudsman at General Luna Street, Iloilo City on Jan 22, 2019.
He claimed that the respondents made it appear that Ascott Pacific Consultants Inc. was the winning bidder as published on the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) website and then falsified the BAC resolution to award it to PGAA owned by Paulo G. Alcazaren.
“May ara sang pagpeke sa PhilGEPS documents nga gin-forge sang mga katapo sang BAC agud taguon ang participation ni Alcazaren sa bidding kay bal-an nila nga kon matalupangdan nga nagpasakop si Alcazaren, may mareklamo guid kay tungod may conflict of interest,” Mejorada said in an interview.
Mejorada said that the alleged cover-up in the of Alcazaren and/or PGAA Creative Design in the public bidding was to circumvent the conflict of interest rule under Section 47.2 of the 2016 Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act).
“Maathag sa Section 47.2 sang IRR sang RA 9184 nga ang isa ka consultant, which in this case si Alcazaren, ang project consultant sang 2016 pa lang. Nakasugilanon na sila ni Governor Defensor on Dec 9, 2016 bago pa naghiwat sang bidding,” he said.
“So ginbuhatan nila sang isa ka request for expression of interest sa PhilGEPS. May documents request list kag award notice list nga ginbutang nila to nga lain to nga Ascott Pacific, nga hambal nagsala lang kuno pero hungod adto kay ang tuyo is taguon nga si Alcazaren,” Mejorada said.
He added that the Commission on Audit (COA) had called the attention of the BAC because the contractor was different from the procurement winner, which is Ascott Pacific.
“The Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the discrepancy between the Award Notice Abstract under Reference Number 4390524, on the one hand, and BAC resolution, Notice of Award, the Contract Agreement and Notice to Proceed,” part of Mejorada’s complaint read.
“The Award Notice Abstract under Reference Number 4390524 showed the name of Ascott Pacific Consultants, Inc. while paper records – BAC Resolution No. 33-L dated April 28, 2017, Notice of Award, Contract Agreeement and Notice to Proceed – showed the name of PGAA Creative Design, Architect Paolo G. Alcazaren, Proprietor,” it added.
Mejorada asked the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) “to conduct a speedy administrative trial for the above-mentioned charges against the respondents” and for the office to issue “a 90-day preventive suspension against the respondents considering the gravity of the offenses and the weight of the evidence to prove their guilt.”
The former provincial administrator hopes that the respondents can also explain their side.
“Indi ko gusto mapreso sila pero kinahanglan sabton nila ini nga anomaliya sa bidding kag pag-award sang contract kay Alcazaren,” he said.
Atty. Ventilacion, on the other hand, said they had not yet received any from Mejorada’s complaint from the Office of the Ombudsman.
As regards to the new case filed by Mejorada, Ventilacion said: “I presume pareho man lang to ang teorya niya sa ginfile niya sa NBI,” he said.
On Nov 26, 2018, Mejorada filed a criminal complaint for estafa through falsification of public documents against Governor Arthur Defensor Sr., landscape architect Paulo Alcazaren and top Capitol officials over the alleged forgery of bidding documents
He filed the criminal complaint Mejorada with the NBI regional office at Fort San Pedro Drive, Iloilo City.
But Mejorada on Jan 22 said he considers withdrawing the criminal aspects of his complaints.
“Ang criminal aspect napanumdom ko nga bawion ko na lang. Sa tuod, naluoy ako sa ila kay kung dayunon ko yadto, masaka guid sa Sandiganbayan and it will a criminal case,” Mejorada said.
“Ang NBI gahulat sang akon affidavit so may dugang ako nga dokumento nga sarang ko ipapag-on sa akon nga criminal complaint,” he added said.
Meanwhile, Ventilacion said they don’t have to comment on Mejorada’s actions.
“Wala kami sang comment sang iya action. We’ll just have to prepare our answer as soon as we receive his complaints.”