(Photo from Bislig City Mayor Librado Navarro’s Twitter account)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman dismissed Bislig City Mayor Librado Navarro and 11 other local officials over a questionable P14.7-million hydraulic excavator purchase five years ago.

In a statement Monday, September 11, the Ombudsman said Navarro was sacked “for Grave Misconduct” and will be stripped off his eligibility for public office, retirement benefits, and “perpetual disqualification in the government service.”

Also dismissed were City Administrator Charlito Lerog, City Treasurer Roberto Viduya, City Planning Development Coordinator Aprodecio Alba Jr., General Services Officer Felipe Sabaldan Jr., City Budget Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Belma Lomantas, OIC-City Engineer Lorna Salgado, and City Legal Officer Daisy Ronquillo, and Technical Working Group members City Accountant Raquel Bautista, Gilbert Abugan, Laila Manlucob, and Estefa Mata.

The decision to dismiss a significant number of officials in the said local government unit in Surigao del Sur province was based on an anomalous deal on July 18, 2012, which involved a purchase of a Komatsu crawler-type hydraulic excavator worth P14.7 million from Cebu-based RDAK Transport Equipment Inc.

“The Commission on Audit (COA) Evaluation Report showed that the project was awarded to RDAK despite non-compliance with the technical specifications concerning the engine power, bucket capacity and operating weight. Due to questions that attended the procurement, the COA issued a Notice of Disallowance on 23 October 2012,” the Ombudsman said.

The Ombudsman found out that RDAK “did not truthfully present the specification of the Komatsu unit in its bid.”

It said the Technical Working Group manipulated the data in its report and that the supply contract was awarded to RDAK despite not “truthfully” presenting specifications for the Komatsu PC200-8’s specifications.

“The bidding was a failure as none of the bidders’ proposals were responsive; coupled with respondents going for RDAK’s less superior unit notwithstanding its glaringly higher price, all show respondents’ bad faith and manifest partiality toward the said supplier,” the Ombudsman said. (davaotoday.com)

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