The Office of the Ombudsman has indicted Anda Mayor Angelita “Inday” Simacio for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection to an alleged overpriced construction of a multi-purpose center which she initiated.
In a related administrative case filed against her, Simacio was ordered suspended for three months after she was found guilty of simple neglect of duty.
A press statement on Thursday said Simacio will be charged for violation of Section 3(g) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Graft investigators found that Simacio approved the construction of the Anda Multi-Purpose Building/Center worth P2.5 million which was awarded to A.S.O. Construction.
The Ombudsman said the funds for the project came from the Priority Development Assistance Fund of former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.
The Ombudsman cited an Audit Observation Memorandum issued by the Commission on Audit on October 7 declaring the project as overpriced by as much as P754,517.36 and ordered A.S.O. to refund the amount to the local government.
“The excessiveness is due to the high labor cost which is higher than the normal and usual practice in construction, and an overestimated quantity of reinforcing steel bars,” COA said in the memorandum.
“If anything, the refund is an indication that the contract was truthfully disadvantageous to the government,” the Ombudsman added in the statement.
The anti-graft body further said it is “convinced that the contract entered into by the LGU with A.S.O. Construction was manifestly disadvantageous to the government.”
“This is regardless of whether A.S.O. Construction indeed refunded the amount of P754,517.36,”” the Ombudsman said.
According to the Ombudsman, Simacio is liable for the offense, being the town’s local chief executive responsible for the approval of contracts and disbursement of funds.
“Respondent, being the Mayor of the LGU at the time of the execution of the contract, was the head of the procuring entity. She signed the contract, which incorporated the bid documents including the Bid Prices and Bill of Quantities and the Detailed Estimates,” the Ombudsman said.
“Moreover, she caused the disbursement of P2,498,923.50 based on the Accomplishment Reports submitted by A.S.O. Construction, which she notably approved. Clearly, she is not beyond reproach,” it added.
Section 3(g) of the anti-graft law penalizes public officials who are “entering, on behalf of the government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.”