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Suspension sought for Munti mayor, 24 other city execs

May 1, 2008 7:02pm

MANILA, Philippines - A private citizen has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to place Muntinlupa City Mayor Aldrin L. San Pedro and 24 other local officials under preventive suspension for plunder, graft and violation of procurement laws.

In his six-page motion, Ariel B. Dolleton said the respondents failed to submit their counter-affidavits within the 10-day non-extendible period set by Preliminary and Administrative Adjudication Bureau-B director Mary Susan S. Guillermo in her order dated February 28.

Dolleton noted that the motion for extension of time filed by Michael M. Racelis, city attorney, in behalf of the respondents has no validity since Racelis is not authorized to file such motion.

"Hence, the Ombudsman's deadline has legally expired," Dolleton said in his motion.

He noted that in a 1990 ruling in the case of Urbano and Acapulco vs. Francisco Chavez, et al, the Supreme Court held that lawyers in government payroll cannot represent a public official "at any stage of a criminal case or in a civil suit for damages arising from a felony."

"Undeniably, herein respondents are being charged not in their capacity but on their personal capacity. Assuming arguendo, that respondents contracted the legal services of Michael Racelis as their counsel, he still have no capacity to do so because he is prohibited under the law to represent any of the respondents in this criminal case," Dolleton said.

Dolleton is accusing San Pedro, 16 city councilors and eight other city officials of approving 11 questionable infrastructure projects worth P238.07 million in September 2007.

Dolleton was formerly City Department Head III, but he claimed was booted out of his office and has not received his salaries for the past nine months after he started raising questions on the alleged anomalies.

Among the projects being questioned are the asphalt overlay/concrete blocking of the Alabang to San Pedro boundary worth P129.95 million awarded to Socor Constructions; upgrading of streetlights in Susana Heights, Tunasan (P30.39 million) to Vicvera Builders; construction and installation of a water tank/submersible pump at the city hall (P24.46 million) to PDJ Integrated Construction; improvement of sidewalk along the Tunasan-Alabang national road (P17.54 million) to Vicvera Builders; and roadway improvement on Bautista Street in Bayanan. Muntinlupa (P11.65 million) to KCD Builders Corp.

"All 11 infra projects were allegedly bid out and awarded – including advertisements, pre-procurement/pre-bid conferences, pre-qualification, post qualification, notice of award and notice to proceed – in one day only, that is on September 17, 2007, the same day the (budget) ordinance was forwarded to Mayor San Pedro for his approval and signature," he said.

He said a public bidding could not have happened because "there was no posting of the invitation to apply for eligibility and to bid in any newspaper of general circulation; no submission of letters of intent by any bidder; no pre-procurement and pre-bid conferences were held; no payment of bid documents; no eligibility screening or evaluation; no BAC resolution of award; and no notice to proceed."

San Pedro's co-respondents include City Councilors Icasiano M. dela Rea, Melchor R. Teves, Allan Rey A. Camilon, Marita Deang-Calalang, Ma. Luisa Babaran-Echavez, Margarita Amythyst Patdu-Labios, Francis Ian T. Bagatsing, Luvi P. Constantino, Marissa Cole-Rongavilla, Mamerto T. Sevilla Jr., Vergel C. Ulanday, Robert A. Abas, Joselito V. Arevalo, Rey E. Bulay, Manuel P. Solomon and Christian Glenn D. Lorica.

Likewise named in the complaint were Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairman Roberto Bunyi; BAC members Vicente A. Navarro, Michael Racelis, Peter B. Salonga and Sonia A. Laureta; City Budget Officer Avelino A. Orellana; City Treasurer Nelia A. Barlis; and City Accountant Edwin T. Suitado. - GMANews.TV