By Czarina Nicole Ong
Former Caloocan City Mayor Enrico Echiverri has just been slapped with another graft charge before the Sandiganbayan First Division.
This time, it is for the improvement of path walk and drainage system at Phase 8 Package 1, Bagong Silang, Barangay 176 of Caloocan City.
In the charge sheet filed by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer III Charmaine C. Ruiz, Echiverri was accused of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act together with former city budget officer Jesusa Garcia and city accountant Edna Centeno.
From June 1, 2011 to December 22, 2011, they were accused of giving unwarranted benefits to E.V. & E. Construction (EVEC) in the amount of P1,778,599.94 for the abovementioned project.
They pushed through with the payment even though there was no specific or itemized appropriation ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Caloocan (SPC) for the project, nor was there authorization by the SPC for Echiverri to enter into a contract with EVEC.
Garcia and Centeno even certified that there was an appropriation of allotment in the amount of P3,550,170 for the said project, and for this, they were slapped with an additional falsification of public document charge.
Echiverri was acquitted just recently of a single graft charge by the First Division in relation to the reportedly anomalous P8,081,052.38 contract entered into by Caloocan City with P.B. Grey Construction back on October 20, 2011 for the improvement of roads and drainage system at Phase 6, Green Valley, Brgy. 178, Caloocan City.
With this additional charge, his graft charges before several Sandiganbayan divisions now total to 44.