Eastern Samar mayor suspended over Yolanda fund misuse
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - March 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A town mayor who is seeking the lone congressional seat in Eastern Samar has been ordered suspended for alleged irregularities in the rehabiliation of infrastructure damaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Ordered suspended by Ombudsman Samuel Martires for six months was Mayor Christopher Sheen Gonzales of Guiuan. The Department of the Interior and Local Government has implemented the suspension order.

Gonzales is aspiring for the post to be vacated by Rep. Ben Evardone, who is running for governor. The mayor has denied any wrongdoing.

Also suspended were municipal accountant Adrian Bernardo, treasurer Felicisima Bernardo, bids and awards committee chair and municipal engineer Arsenio Salamida, BAC vice chair Esperanza Cortin and BAC members Danilo Colandog, Gilberto Labicante, Ma. Nenita Ecleo, Felipe Padual and Zosimo Macabasag.

The Office of the Ombudsman said there was strong evidence of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty against the respondents.

The complaint stemmed from rehabilitation projects awarded to two contractors – two to Labasbas Construction for P56 million and one to EDG Americas for P92 million.

The ombudsman said there were no reliable documents from the winning contractors to prove their technical, legal and financial competence to undertake the repair of the municipal hall, public market and 89 barangay facilities in Guiuan. 

The anti-graft office said EDG Americas also made deviations from the approved plans.     

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT OMBUDSMAN SUPER TYPHOON YOLANDA
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