3 Iriga officials sacked for fertilizer fund scam

Posted at 08/01/14 9:15 PM

MANILA - Three officials from Iriga City were ordered dismissed from office over their involvement in the fertilizer fund scam, the Office of the Ombudsman said on Friday.

In a statement, the Ombudsman said Iriga City Accountant Aida Estonido, Iriga City Agriculturist Edwin Lapuz, and Iriga City Prequalification Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC) Chairman Aldo Turiano committed dishonesty, grave misconduct, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for their involvement in the purchase of overpriced fertilizers.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said PBAC members Estonido, Lapuz, and Turiano also violated procurement laws.

The Ombudman said the city's purchase of 789 liters of Young Magic Foliar Fertilizer from Madarca Trading caused undue injury to government equivalent to P2,787,191.

It noted that the retail price of Young Magic Foliar Fertilizer was only P125 per liter. The city government set the budget for the fertilizers at P3,800 per liter, amounting to a total of P2.9 million.

It said the city government also failed to conduct public bidding, and made reference to specific brand names.

The Ombudsman said Estonido and Turiano's knowledge of and participation in the illegal transaction were evidenced by their signatures in two Acceptance and Inspection Reports.

Lapuz, meanwhile, reported to the PBAC the supposed urgency of supplying fertilizers to the farmers despite the absence of imminent danger to life or property.

The penalty of dismissal from the service carries with it the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and bar from taking civil service examinations.

The criminal aspect of the case is pending resolution by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman said charges against Jean Bongon, Jessie Abonite, Jose Cabanes, Amparo Olaso, Melchor Nacario, and Fernando Berina were dismissed for lack of substantial evidence.