The Department of Justice (DoJ) has endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman graft and corruption charges against Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos Padilla and 13 other current and former officials of the provincial government in connection with P149-million in unfinished projects.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevara said the filing of the complaints before Ombudsman Samuel Martirez arose from a probe undertaken by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the result of which was submitted to the DoJ-led Task Force Against Corruption.
Guevarra included in the complaint Padilla’s wife, former governor Ruth Padilla, three private individuals and several present and past employees of the provincial government.
The Padilla coupled are criminally liable for alleged violations of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; and Republic Act 9184, otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform Act, the DoJ chief said.
He added that the respondents are also liable administratively for grave misconduct and for actions prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Included in the complaint were Atty. Voltaire Garcia, chair of the province’s bids and awards committee; provincial engineer Manolo Norial; treasurer Rhoda Moreno; budget officer and alternate BAC member Alejandra Dacumos; provincial agriculturist Alexander Domingo; and BAC TWG chair Engr. Honorio Sierra Jr.
Six members of the BAC were also impleaded. Guevarra said that contractor Sharysu Builders is also criminally liable.
During the investigation, it was discovered that the accreditation of Sharysu Builders, the contractors of the said projects, has been delisted since 2007 due to the non-renewal of license.
Among the projects that were allegedly left hanging by the contractor were the Nueva Ecija Convention Center, the improvement and expansion of the provincial capitol building phases 1 and 2 and the conference hall at Lower Magat Eco-Tourism Park.
The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, meanwhile, has asked the Ombudsman to put Governor Padilla and the current officials involved in the anomaly on preventive suspension.
During the final State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte, he admitted that corruption in the government persists, adding the next president may need to declare martial law if only to be empowered to remove and corrupt government officials and personnel.
The President cited the need to hire new government personnel and officials that are still untainted by corruption.