BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed a string of cases filed against former Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella and several others, in connection with the purchase of 10 utility vehicles and road grader, splitting of contracts and illegal use of public funds, for lack of substantial evidence and probable cause.
Puentevella, who was then as mayor of Bacolod City, Acting City Administrator Jerome Solinap, City Veterinarian Maria Agueda Trinidad Flores dela Torre, Ehpfraem Hechanova, Mae Cuaycong, Victor Emmanuel Espina, Roger Dullano, Aaron Bais amd Maximino Sillo were charged by Samuel Montoyo for technical malversation, anti-graft and corrupt practices and misconduct before the Ombudsman, in connection with the alleged irregularities in the procurement of 10 utility vehicles requested by the City Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office, to be used by the Bacolod City Police Office, with a budget of P8.5 million.
Montoyo alleged that respondent did not observe the proper dates required by RA 9184.
As explained by Hechanova and Sillo, the Ombudsman noted that the procured vehicles were assigned to BCPO, being a member of CDRRMO.
The assignment of vehicles to BCPO, as DRRMO member, does not deviate the purpose, for which the subject vehicles have been appropriated, the Ombudsman also said.
This prompted the Ombudsman to dismiss the complaint for violation of Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code and Section 3(e) and (g) of RA 3019, in relation to RA 9184, against respondents for lack of probable cause.
The administrative case for misconduct against the same respondents was also dismissed by the Ombudsman for lack of substantial evidence.
Montoyo also charged Puentevella, Solinap, Torre, Hechanova, Cuaycong, Espina, Dullano, Sillo and Reynaldo Ebreo for alleged violation for anti-graft and corrupt practices act, for alleged splitting of contracts, before the Ombudsman.
However, the Ombudsman said that the City suffered no injury as the transactions were cancelled and no payment was made.
Montoyo also filed more alleged violation of anti-graft corrupt practices as well as government procurement reform acts, violation of Article 171, illegal use of funds, grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty, as well as conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service before the Ombudsman, for alleged anomalous procurement of a road grader, and illegal use of public funds.
The Ombudsman also dismissed the criminal complaint for violation of RA 9184, Article 171 and illegal use of public funds or property against respondents Puentevella, Solinap, dela Torre, Hechanova, Cuaycong and Sillo for lack of probable cause.
It also dismissed charges for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service against Solinap, dela Torre, Hechanova, Cuaycong and Sillo for lack of substantial evidence, subject to the foregoing admonition.
Ombudsman also said that it dismissed the administrative charges against Puentevella for lack of jurisdiction.*