BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – City Legal Officer Lawyer Joselito Bayatan said those who filed a case against Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia were “disgruntled suppliers” and “fake complainants”, with fresh complaints that are “malicious, speculative, guess work, and fabricated”.
Earlier, businessman Antonio Wong, and media man Edgar Cadagat filed criminal and administrative charges against Mayor Evelio Leonardia and five other City Hall heads and employees before the Ombudsman for the purchase of alleged overpriced food packs that were distributed to residents during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
Bayatan, in a press release furnished to Bacolod media, said the two have a pending collection claim of P3.774 million from the City Government, involving “midnight purchases” of volcanic soil and aggregates base coarse made in March 2016.
“When their billing was duly examined, it was discovered that the procurement made in March 2016 was among several ‘midnight’ purchases, and in violation of the 20-day minimum bidding period under the Procurement Law. Worse, they submitted delivery receipts worth only P1,260,473.10 against a claim of P3.774 million. Thus, the absence of complete delivery receipts is prima facie evidence that the remaining P2,513,526.90 partook of the nature of ‘ghost deliveries’ for which Wong and Cadagat are demanding to be paid,” Bayatan said.
Bayatan said that “in good faith”, the two – along with other suppliers – were told to lodge their payment claim with the Commission of Audit (COA), as allowed under government rules, “for a fair and honest determination” of their “collection” demand.
“[B]ut they refused to do so until now, because should they proceed to COA, their suspected “ghost deliveries” and other violations will be validated.
Thus, Wong and Cadagat became “disgruntled suppliers” and begun their “black propaganda” fit against Leonardia, according to Bayatan, adding that the two have become the usual “fake complainants” before the Ombudsman and the DILG.
Now, Wong and Cadagat have fabricated another complaint about the procurement of food supplies for emergency needs during the COVID-19 community quarantines as another black propaganda scheme, Bayatan further said.
From news reports, it appears that Wong and Cadagat tried to build a case for alleged overpriced food packs by merely using the “Program of Work” as their ‘proof’ of actual purchase, and the “Cash Advances” as the source of funds for the “Program of Work,” he said.
“However, that is very erroneous because any Program of Work is merely a project proposal based on projected quantities and estimated costs. It does not prove at all how the cash advance for the project was actually spent,” Bayatan said.
“On the other hand, actual expenditures for items in the Program of Work are documented by official receipts or sales invoices of suppliers who sold the food supplies to the City. Had Wong and Cadagat presented the latter documents, these would have destroyed their case because these will show that the supplies were actually purchased at prices much less than originally estimated in the Program of Work,” Bayatan further said.
“Wong and Cadagat simply exposed their feigned ignorance about the procurement processes in government when they argued their case purely based on deceptive speculations, argumentation, theories, and ‘guess work.’ Their complaint is full of faulty assumptions that distorted the facts,” Bayatan added.
The lawyer further said that the emergency purchases for food supplies to implement the Program of Work had undergone proper procurement procedures through the Bids & Awards Committee (BAC), as required by law, before actual purchases were made, so as to avail of the most reasonable and fair prices in the market at that point in time.
“Indeed, Wong and Cadagat expertly made distortions in their interpretation of the facts in their complaint. That’s why their presentation was all about guess work, malicious speculations, faulty argumentations, and invented theories,” Bayatan said.
Bayatan added that officials and employees who are respondents in this complaint will just await the official copy of the complaint from the Ombudsman to ascertain the validity and genuineness of the ‘proof documents’ cited in the complaint and to file their answers in the proper venue.*/BACOLOD CITY PIO