By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
Former Candon Mayor Grace Gacula Singson of Ilocos Sur and nine others have been charged with graft before the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division due to the reportedly irregular purchase of water pumps back in 2004.
Singson was accused of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act alongside former City Treasurer Bernardita Mati, City Accountant Eliseo Gacusana, City Agriculturist Prospero Bello, City Budget Officer Perla Gapatan, Sangguniang Panglungsod Secretary Jerry Bang-Asan Malamion, City Engineer Esteban Martinez, City General Services Officer Reynaldo Pilien Querubin, and City Planning and Development Coordinator Naulie Cabanting.
Private individuals Elynette Marie Martinez and Alain Lee, both of ACL Farm Hardware Importer and Repair Shop, are facing the same graft charge.
Back in April 2004, the accused local officials allegedly conspired with Martinez and Lee when they awarded to ACL the contract for the purchase of 109 units of Honda G-200 gasoline engine 5hp with Finsburry pump base and accessories worth P1,818,481.45.
They did so even without the available budget when they initiated the bidding on February 2004. The city only received the funding for it on April 15, 2004.
The Abstract of Bids of March 10, 2004 mentioned favorable award to ACL, yet no bids and awards committee resolution and Notice of Award was issued to ACL.
Furthermore, there were irregularities in the actual distribution of the Honda water pumps. Even though the city paid for 109 units, it only received 69.
Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer III Rolando Manjares even found irregularities in the liquidation documents, since the Purchase Request, Purchase Order, Acknowledgment Receipts, and Disbursement Voucher.
hese were all undated but were still used to facilitate approval and release of payment to ACL.
Their bail bond for their temporary liberty has been set at P30,000 each.