Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales directed Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to implement the dismissal order, saying Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia committed grave misconduct when she purchased the property. Aside from her dismissal, the ombudsman also ordered Garcia's perpetual disqualification from public office, cancellation of her civil service eligibility and forfeiture of her retirement benefits. AJ Bolando

Ombudsman dismisses Rep. Gwen Garcia for grave misconduct
(philstar.com) - February 12, 2018 - 12:19pm
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman on Monday ordered the dismissal from service of Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia (Cebu, 3rd District) over the controversial purchase of the Balili property.
 
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales directed Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to implement the dismissal order, saying Garcia committed grave misconduct when she purchased the property.
 
Aside from her dismissal, the ombudsman also ordered Garcia's perpetual disqualification from public office, cancellation of her civil service eligibility and forfeiture of her retirement benefits.
 
Garcia purchased the property on June 11, 2008. It is a 249,246 square meter lot located in Tinaan, Naga, Cebu worth P98,926,800. The local authorities, later on, found that 196,696 square meters of the property are underwater and part of a mangrove area.
 
In April 2012, the local government conducted a public bidding for the supply and delivery of the mangrove portions. The deal was awarded to Supreme ABF Construction.
 
However, in its investigation, the ombudsman found that Garcia had no authority from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan when she entered into a contract with ABF Construction. 
 
“While this Office finds merit on her assertion that the P50 million allotment for the airport/seaport and other economic enterprise site development program (a capital outlay expenditure that was carried over to the 2012 Annual Budget of the province), was a valid source of appropriation for the Balili project, such appropriation did not validly confer authority to respondent Garcia to enter into a contract with ABF Construction for the Balili project,” the Jan. 15, 2018 decision of the ombudsman read. 
 
“She failed to point out the specific provision in the appropriation ordinance which supposedly authorized her to enter into the contract,” it added.
 
According to the ombudsman, Garcia also violated the Administrative Code of 1987 and the Government Code of the Philippines, which “proscribe entering into a contract unless a certification of appropriation and fund availability for the expenditure is issued.” 
 
Aside from Garcia, provincial accountant Emmanuel Guial was also found guilty of simple neglect of duty “for certifying in the subject [disbursement vouchers] that the supporting documents are complete when in fact they lacked the required authority from the SP for respondent Garcia to enter into contract.”
 
Guial was ordered suspended for three months. His penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to his three-month salary if he tenders resignation.
 
Meanwhile, the administrative charges against Bids and Awards Committee Chairperson Marivic Garces; Vice Chairperson Bernard Calderon; members Manuel Purog, Emme Gingoyon, Ma. Junelene Arenas, Cristina Giango and Rosalinda Jao; and Acting Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre were dismissed for lack of merit. — Rosette Adel

GRAVE MISCONDUCT GWENDOLYN GARCIA OMBUDSMAN
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