By Czarina Nicole Ong
Four officials of the Orani Water District of Bataan are facing graft charges before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division due to the reportedly anomalous appointment of a member of the Board of Directors (BOD) despite his disqualified status.
Board of Directors members Edmund L. Castañeda, Pagasa Pascual and Teresa Santos have been charged for violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act due to the appointment of Reynaldo Torres Ibe Jr. as the fifth member of their BOD on November 15, 2010.
At the time, Ibe Jr. was temporarily disqualified from holding any government position since he ran and lost in the May 2010 local elections, pursuant to the 1987 Philippine Constitution and Section 94(b) of the Local Government Code.
Because of their actions, undue injury was caused to the government in the amount of P274,400, which represented the per diems and allowances received by Ibe Jr., whose appointment was declared null and void by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).
Meanwhile, general manager Benigno P. Andres has also been slapped with a graft charge for allowing Ibe Jr. to receive the above-mentioned per diems and allowances as member of the BOD of the Orani Water District from March 1 to December 9, 2011.
He allowed Ibe Jr. to receive the money despite being informed by the LWUA that his appointment was null and void from the beginning.
The four officials of Orani Water District, together with Ibe Jr., have to pay P30,000 each for their provisional liberty.