Bukidnon officials, COA auditor in hot water
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Bukidnon officials, COA auditor in hot water

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THE Office of the Ombudsman has sought the indictment of some six Bukidnon officials and a state auditor from the Commission on Audit (COA) in connection with an allegedly dubious procurement of heavy equipment amounting to P14 million.

Municipal Mayor Laurencia Edma, Municipal Treasurer Agapito Baldo, Municipal Accountant Felipa Catanus, Municipal Budget Officer Nestor Lopez, Private Secretary Menchie Landicho, COA State Auditor (SA) Carlito Matias, and Bernardita Basay, proprietor of the Mindanao Philippine Sunday Journal are facing charges of Falsification of Public Documents over the bidding mess.

Meanwhile, Edma, Baldo, Catanus and Lopez were slapped with an additional charge, this being violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

A resolution signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales bared that the local government unit (LGU) of San Fernando, Bukidnon entered into a term loan agreement with the Development Bank of the Philippines for the acquisition of a brand new soil compactor and tractor in 2004.

However, instead of holding a public bidding, the parties resorted to direct contracting with Monark Equipment Corporation acting as supplier.

“(The) absence of public bidding and the immediate resort to negotiated purchase deprived the government of the opportunity to secure the best and most economical deal,” Carpio said in justifying the charges.

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