Loay Mayor Rosemarie Imboy is facing criminal and administrative complaints for entering into a contract with a construction company “despite the non submission of the mandatory tax clearance requirement”.
Former Mayor Dr. Jose Borja together with two Barangay Poblacion Ubos, Loay kagawads – Edgar Mission and Regerio Ganzon filed the complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas against Imboy and members of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) on April 26, 2016.
The complainants accused Imboyand the BAC of awarding a contract to Square Cube Corporation to demolish the century old Loay Municipal Hall considered by the people of Loay as a historical and cultural landmark.
Also, Borja, Mission and Ganzon sought from the Ombudsman the suspension, dismissal and perpetual disqualification from holding public office of Imboy and the members of the BAC.
The case stemmed from a public bidding for the repair/rehabilitation of the Loay Town Hall which suffered damages as a result of the October 15, 2013 magnitude 7.2 earthquake.
Square Cube Construction with business address at Mandaue City, Cebu and represented by Eutiquio Curayag was included in the complaint in it’s capacity as the contractor for the demolition and construction of the Loay Town Hall.
According to the nine page complaint, the repair/rehabilitation of the Loay Town Hall had an approved budget of P32.5 million under the Bohol Earthquake Assistance – Department of Interior and Local Government (BEA-DILG) Fund.
The project was also allotted a P5 million budget from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Upon receipt of the first tranche of the P32.5 million budget amounting to P19.5 million on June 29, 2015, a public bidding was held a month later with Square Cube as the lone bidder.
The complainants alleged that the BAC declared Square Cube Construction as eligible and qualified despite it’s failure to comply with a mandatory eligibility requirement of a tax clearance from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Executive Order (EO) 398 mandates all government agencies and local government units to require private contracting parties to submit a BIR tax clearance as proof of full and timely payment of taxes.
A report on the bidding on August 24, 2015 prepared and submitted by Evelyn Maria Ervi Heramis, BEA-DILG Administrative Assistant showed that a BIR tax clearance was not among the documents submitted by Square Cube.
A similar bidding conducted by the DPWH for the repair of the Loay Town Hall, according to the complainants, declared Square Cube “ineligible” for submitting an expired BIR tax clearance dated August 20, 2015 as shown by the Contract Profile Eligibility Processing Results of the BAC-DPWH 3rd Engineering District.
Based on the documentary evidences, complainants accused Imboy of “malicious intention” of favoring Square Cube with “unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference through manifest partiality, evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence”.
The complaint also accused Imboy of “executing the plan to demolish the Loay Municipal Hall” even without securing a clearance from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) as required by the RA No. 10066.
Under the National Cultural Heritage Ace of 2009 (RA 10066), all structures 50 years or older are considered by law as an “important cultural property” (ICP) and cannot be demolished or altered without the permission of the NCCA.
Due to the public outcry generated by the demolition of the town hall, a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) was issued by the Executive Director of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Ludovico Badoy.
Complainants Borja, Mission and Ganzon also accused Imboy of violating provisions on property disposal as mandated by the Government Auditing Code.
Imboy, according to the complaint, failed to ask for an inspection or an appraisal by the Provincial Auditor prior to the demolition of the town hall.
The complainants also sought for the suspension of Imboy and members of the BAC from the Ombudsman “to prevent them from influencing the witnesses of the crime and from manipulating the documents related to the questioned transaction”.
The members of the BAC accused of rigging the bidding in favor of Square Cube Construction are Corazon Angub (Chairperson), Ma. Peliza Dumayac (BAC Secretariat), Peter Ilogon (Vice Chair), Sisilio Maquiling, Leonor Ilogon, Narciso Apit, Herminia Daohog and Amania Sarong.
The three term Mayor is running for governor in the May 9, 2016 local elections.
The complaint was stamped received by the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas on August 26, 2016.Â (Chito M. Visarra)