Ex-Lucena City mayor convicted over P30M computerization project
20 November 2017
The Office of the Ombudsman obtained the conviction of ex-Mayor Ramon Talaga of Lucena City, Quezon Province, along with the city’s Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) members, namely; Planning and Development Officer Ofelia Garcia, Budget Officer Ester Matibag and Assistant City Treasurer Mercedita Capulong for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).
The conviction was obtained after the prosecution established beyond reasonable doubt that they acted with gross inexcusable negligence in awarding the P30 million contract to Amellar Solutions for the city’s 2012 “Web-based Computerized Revenue Generation System.” The accused were sentenced to suffer six years to eight years imprisonment, with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
The local executives from Lucena City were faulted for violating the rules on competitive bidding when they unjustifiably resorted to Limited Source Bidding in awarding the multi-million peso contract. The Sandiganbayan stated that this action “deprived the city of Lucena the opportunity to obtain the most advantageous offer.” The court also noted that Talaga, et. al. awarded the project to Amellar despite its non-compliance with the substantive conditions of the Terms of Reference which required the offer of a Windows-based and SQL Database Management system.
In the 74-page Decision penned by Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Sarah Jane Fernandez, it was stated that the anti-graft court found all the accused have given unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to Amellar.
“The law is clear. The procurement of supplies by local government units shall be done through competitive public bidding. These facts, taken together, show that the resort to limited source bidding is devoid of justification, and was attended with gross inexcusable negligence.” the Court underscored. ###