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QC gov't sues ex-mayor Bistek over P25M solar power project sans city council nod

The Quezon City government has filed a graft complaint against former mayor Herbert Bautista and two other former city officials  over a P25-million solar power/waterproofing contract granted without the city council's approval.

Aside from Bautista, also included in the nine-page complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman were former city administrator Aldrin Cuña and former city engineer Joselito Cabungcal.

The Quezon City government, represented by lawyer Carlo Austria, accused Bautista, Cuña and Cabungcal of granting the contract and releasing P25 million to Cygnet Energy and Power Asia without city council approval, a violation of the Local Government Code.

“Respondent Bautista could not have validly entered into the subject Contract. First, there was no prior authorization or subsequent ratification from the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) regarding the project. Upon inquiry by the City's Internal Audit Service, the Office of the Secretary of the Sangguniang Panlungsod stated that there were no legislative measures or records in relation to the Project,” the complaint read.

“Clearly then, there was no authorization from the City Council for the Project,” the complaint added.

Likewise, Austria alleged that Bautista approved the release of the fund even though the contractor failed to deliver the materials needed, including a net metering system from Meralco.

Such release of the full budget despite the non-compliance of delivery of materials, Austria said, is a violation of the Terms of Reference of the contract and the Government Auditing Code.

“As further stated in the TOR, only 50% of the Project cost should have been released upon the delivery and installation of the materials for the Project. The remaining 50 percent should have only been released "upon testing, commissioning, training, technology transfer" of the Project,” the complaint pointed out.

“The lack of testing commissioning, training and a net metering system for the Project proscribed the release of the full Project cost. It is clear from all the foregoing that the Respondents, in conspiracy with one another, violated the law,” the complaint added. — AOL/BM, GMA News