Ex-Laguna town mayor, 9 others indicted for graft

Posted at 05/23/14 8:08 PM

MANILA - The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to file graft charges against the then mayor and local officials of Majayjay, Laguna in connection with anomalous bulk water contracts in 2011.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said graft charges will be filed against the following:

Mayor Teofilo Guera,
Vice Mayor Ana Linda Rosas,
Sangguniang Bayan members Lauro Mentilla,
Mauro Aragon,
Juancho Andaya,
Antonio Zornosa Jr.,
Mauro Mercolisa Jr.,
Jovanie Ann Esquillo,
Bernardo De Villa, and
Arcadio Gapangada, Jr. of the Israel Builders and Development Corporation (IBDC).

"The records of the case clearly demonstrate conspiracy on the part of all respondents. Respondent Guera entered into the bulk water contract, which was approved and ratified by respondents Rosas, Mentilla, Aragon, Andaya, Zornosa Jr., Mercolisa Jr., Esquillo and de Villa, in spite of the obvious defects and flaws attendant in its provisions and the process leading to the award of the same," the Ombudsman resolution read.

According to the Ombudsman, unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference were extended by the officials to IBDC despite its lack of financial capacity and technical expertise on the construction, rehabilitation, operation and maintenance of water works system.

Financial statements showed that IBDC's equity amounted to only P10,720,652 and that most of the investment for the project would be sourced from joint venture partners. Its Contractor's license and Philippine Constructors Association Board (PCAB) certification classify it as Small "B" allowing it to join contracts ranging from P10 million to P15 million only, it said.

It also noted that bidding requirements such as eligibility qualifications, requirement of performance security were circumvented or implicitly waived in favor of IBDC.

The Ombudsman added that there were infirmities in the contract which provide no penalties in case of delay or default, and a revenue sharing agreement which is grossly favorable to IBDC.

In the administrative case, Morales also affirmed the earlier finding of grave misconduct against Guera, Rosas, Mentilla, Aragon, and Esquillo who were ordered dismissed from service.

Considering, however, that respondents Andaya, Zornosa Jr., Mercolisa Jr., and de Villa have been re-elected to the same elective positions, their administrative case was rendered moot and academic, Morales said.