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Ex-Pasay mayor charged with graft

- Michael Punongbayan () - June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman yesterday ordered the filing of graft charges against former Pasay City mayor Wenceslao “Peewee” Trinidad for his alleged involvement in the anomalous bidding process for the construction of a P500-million mall and market project in the city in 2003.

Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro said former councilor Jose Antonio Roxas and non-government organization – Bids and Awards Committee (NGO-BAC) representatives Joselito Manabat and Alexander Ramos should also face trial.

Reached by The STAR, Trinidad said the allegation is “politically motivated.”

“This is a seven-year-old case. It’s about time that I will be able to prove my innocence,” he said even as he assured he is ready to face the charges in court.

Trinidad maintained there is nothing wrong with the project because even the Commission on Audit (COA) did not find it to be overpriced.

In a 33-page resolution, the Office of the Ombudsman said Trinidad and his fellow respondents in the case will face graft charges for alleged violations of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA) and Article 237 of the Revised Penal Code which penalizes acts of “Prolonging Performance of Duties and Powers.”

Trinidad and BAC members are accused of illegally allowing “old” BAC members to handle the bidding process when a new one has already been constituted.

They are also accused of violating the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the GPRA which bars the head of the procuring office or agency of government like the mayor of a town or city to be a member of the BAC.

Records showed that on Oct. 3, 2003, the former mayor issued an Invitation to Pre-Qualify and or Apply for Eligibility and to Bid for the construction of the Pasay City Mall and Market which has an approved budget of P500 million to be funded through the issuance of so-called Kaunlaran Bonds. A city ordinance authorizing the bond flotation was enacted on Oct. 21, 2003.

The project was eventually awarded to the firm Izumo Contractors during a meeting of the BAC called by Trinidad which was attended by “old” BAC members.

The Ombudsman said the award of the project was “highly irregular” because “the new PBAC under RA 9184 is the legitimate body who should have conducted the bidding process no more, no less.”

BIDS AND AWARDS COMMITTEE GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT REFORM ACT IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS IZUMO CONTRACTORS JOSE ANTONIO ROXAS JOSELITO MANABAT AND ALEXANDER RAMOS KAUNLARAN BONDS OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN OVERALL DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN ORLANDO CASIMIRO
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