At least eight officials of a town in Camarines Norte, including a former mayor, face charges before the Sandiganbayan over their involvement in the fertilizer fund scam, the Office of the Ombudsman said Tuesday, June 21.
The Ombudsman said the officials served as local executives of Talisay town, and face charges of graft and malversation of public funds.
“Respondent public officers committed the prohibited acts while in the performance of their duties, and with manifest partiality, and gross inexcusable negligence gave Hexaphil unwarranted benefit advantage or preference when they dispensed with public bidding,” Ombudsman Conchita Morales said.
The Ombudsman said those charged were:
* former mayor Rodolfo Gache
* Cecilio Noora Jr.
* Mirian Hernandez
* Ireneo Zabala
* Romeo Maranan
* Felicisima Velasco
* Raul Rayos
* Adela Adlawan
Also impleaded were Hexaphil Agriventures president Alex Rivera and Victoria Ajero.
Investigation showed Talisay town received nearly P3 million in 2004 as beneficiary of the Farm Inputs and Farm Implements Program (FIFIP) of the Department of Agriculture.
Gache and company acquired 4,285 bottles of Hexaplus liquid fertilizer at P700 per bottle from Hexaphil, without any public bidding and the documents for the release of funds prepared in just one day.
The Ombudsman noted that the brand name was specified. A market investigation for the preferred brand showed the cost at only P130 to P420 per bottle.
Investigators likewise found the supplier was ineligible to participate in the procurement.
The Ombudsman’s 12-page order said the respondents manipulated the procurement process and let Hexaphil take a total of P2.9 million as lawful disbursements.