Bacolod mayor faces graft charges

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

THE Office of the Ombudsman filed graft charges on Tuesday against Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella and two others for their alleged involvement in a computer scam.

The case involved the alleged anomalous procurement of computers using Puentevella’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) worth P25 million when he was still congressmORIGIan from 2002 to 2007.

Also charged before the Sandiganbayan were Victorino Tirol, former regional director of Department of Education-Western Visayas, and Jessie Garcia, chairman of the Board of Merryland Publishing Corp., supplier of the Information Technology (IT) packages.


The filing of the information came after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, in an eight-page decision dated January 7, 2014, recommended the filing of charges against Puentevella and two other respondents before the Sandiganbayan.

In the January 7 decision, Morales denied the motion for reconsideration of Puentevella, Tirol, and Garcia, seeking the reversal of its decision on September 30, 2013 indicting them in the alleged computer scam. [Read more here]

The complainants, all former city legal officers under the administration of then Mayor Evelio Leonardia, alleged that the IT packages were purchased from Merryland Publishing Corp. at P400,000 each without the conduct of public bidding, and were found to be overpriced, defective and non-functional.
Puentevella earlier said he merely identified the project that will be funded by his PDAF and he had no participation in the procurement of the IT packages.

He also argued that the lack of public bidding is not a violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and that there was no sufficient basis to hold that the IT packages were overpriced.

The mayor added that even assuming that there was irregularity in the procurement of the IT packages, he could not be held liable as a conspirator.

Evangeline Nuñal, graft investigating officer of the Office of the Ombudsman, said the case will be raffled in the Sandiganbayan First Division at 11 a.m. Friday.

City Administrator Rolando Villamor, counsel of Puentevella, could not be reached for comment as of this posting Wednesday.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 06, 2014.

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