A criminal complaint perceived as filedÂ for alleged failed demands for financial considerations was filed against Provincial Administrator Alfonso “Ae” Damalerio and former City Councilor and businessman Zenaido “Djingo” Rama.
Dr. Celestina Ma. De La Serna, Chief of Hospital of the Natalio Castillo Memorial Hospital in Loon brought charges against Damalerio and Rama for conniving to “illegally extract P140,730.00 from the Provincial Government of Bohol by forging my signature in two documents”.
Assisted by her father, former Officer in Charge (OIC) Governor Atty. Victor De La Serna, the four page complaint supported by four annexes was filed before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Tagbilaran City on January 25, 2016 for Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official Documents.
TIT FOR TAT
Damalerio, responding to the allegations, denounced De La Serna for orchestrating the whole farce and using his daughter to get even for his failure to secure the approval by the Governor and himself of his shady deals.
“Since I have not received a copy of the complaint, I have to defend myself from the bar of public opinion”.
Damaleriio emphatically denied the signatures were not forged but genuine as compared to several documents that Dr. De La Serna signed.
“There is nothing that would indicate to me they are forgeries”, said Damalerio.
During the weekly governor’s meeting with the Bohol media “Kita ug ang Gobernador”, Damalerio exposed Atty. De La Serna for demanding the entry of an illegal gambling operator and a P1 million share from the dividends from the 30% share of the Provincial Government of the Joint Venture with Salcon Power Corporation.
Rama who was interviewed by Nestor Daarol on his noontime program “Silab sa udtong tutok” levelled charges of shady dealings against Atty, De La Serna including his daughter, Dr. De La Serna in connection with the generator deal.
“Dr. De La Serna who calls me Tito reminded me of her cut in the contract since she was aware that her father was also after a hefty slice of the deal”.
“The generator deal went through competitive bidding and as a businessman I am assured of a reasonable profit margin. Atty. De La Serna should know his standing in the community with his barefaced lies”.
The complaint alleges that Damalerio and Rama “were in cahoots” and successfully collected the P140,730.00 by forging the signature of Dr, De La Serna in the certification and disbursement voucher.
The amount collected was received by Rama on December 11, 2015 after Damalerio signed and approved the payment “by the authority of the Governor”.
According to Dr. De La Serna, the amount of P140,730.00 is the 10% retained fund from the purchase price of a 50KVA generator set worth P1.4 million delivered by Rama in 2013, before the earthquake that struck Bohol on October 15, 2013.
But the generator set bought by the Provincial Government from Rama for P1.4 million was “overpriced by at least 400% compared to the prices of the same generator sets which is only P350,000.00”, according to Dr. De La Serna.
The generator, according to Dr. De La Serna was never installed nor was used during the blackouts experienced by the entire province of Bohol during the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda.
Despite Rama’s pleadings for a certification that the generator was used during the blackouts, “I repeatedly refuse to sign the documents including a disbursement voucher”. said De La Serna.
Dr. De La Serna also claimed that Damaleriio, when informed about Rama’s insistence for her signatures told her “settle the matter” and “I want the certification signed and on my desk tomorrow”.
But on January 2016, Dr. De La Serna received information that Rama was able to collect the retained fund of P140,730.00 on the strength of a forged certification and disbursement voucher.
The alleged forged certification with her forged signature on November 12, 2015 stated that the generator set delivered by Michelle and Donald’s Garment and Hospital Supplies was installed and in good condition and the generator set was used during the blackouts.
Also, the alleged forged disbursement voucher with her forged signature as requesting officer stated “full withdrawal of retention for one uninstalled unit of electric generator”, according to Dr. De La Serna.
Aside from Damalerio, the disbursement voucher was signed by Provincial Accountant Joseth J. Celocia and certified that all documents were complete.
Also certified as funds available signed by Provincial Treasurer Eustaquio Socorin, the voucher was dated December 10, 2015 and payment received by Michelle and Donald’s Garments & Hospital Supplies, the next day, December 11, 2015.
Expressing dismay over the corruption allegations, Damalerio informed the media that the whole process needs twelve signatures and payment is released saying “Why am I singled out?. the rank of the signatories and the path of the documents through the bureacracy were strictly followed”.
Damalerio also bared that Dr. De La Serna acknowledged receipt of the generator set on July 2013 and was berated by her father for accepting the generator delivered by Rama.
Rama, a former city councilor was also implicated in a P11.5 million delivery of a 750KVA AC diesel generating set to the Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (CGHMH) that was reported under an Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) No. 2013.007 issued by the Commission on Audit (COA) as an “overpriced non-operational” generator set.
However, a COA Inspection Report on September 30, 2013 by the COA Regional Technical Office based in Cebu City found that the generator set and accessories for the upgrading of the CGMH power supply system were “found in good working condition, therefrom the deficiencies previously noted were rectified”.
The report passed only on the technicalÂ assessment of the components of the power upgrading contractÂ leaving an AOM issued April 30, 2013 as an indictment of the cavalierÂ manner bidding was conducted by CGMH Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).
According to legal sources, a mere imputation of forgery, does not ipso facto make the document illegal. The usually considers the entire set of facts, examines evidence, questions witnesses of the attestation to arrive at its independent conclusion.Â (Chito M. Visarra)