Another recycled case pops out of the Ombudsman’s crypt against Third District Rep. Arthur Yap. This time, it’s the fertilizer scam again.
The case is a fluctuating one with the Ombudsman flip-flopping again in her stance.
Yap was already acquitted by the Ombudsman in the same case in an earlier ruling.
In fact, the Ombudsman had found that “Yap’s acts were not characterized or tainted by manifest partiality in its Joint Resolution dated 6 May 2015 in Field Investigation Office vs. Lorenzo, et al. (OMB-C-C-14-0064) (the ‘Visayas case’).
The said case involved the same issuances herein to implement the procurement of the fertilizers for the 2003 GMA Rice Program albeit in the Visayas region.
In the said Joint Resolution, the Ombudsman categorically ruled that Yap could not have deliberately intended to award the contracts to Philphos, stating that “Respondent Yap, as then NFA Administrator, was prompted by the 30 April 2003 Memorandum to issue directives relative to the procurement”.
In turn, the other respondents acted pursuant to said authority and directives.
“Mere compliance by respondents Yap, Jarina, Wycoco, Borromeo, Retuta, Araneta, Semblante, Delfino, Bentulan, Marta, Marquez, Ada, Selpa and Monsanto with the 30 April 2003 Memorandum does not establish manifest partiality, evident bad faith and inexcusable negligence on their part”.
“With the directive of the DA Secretary in conducting the alternative method of negotiated procurement, which is presumed to be valid at the time of its issuance, the other respondents were left with no other option but to follow the same. They cannot thus be said to have deliberately intended to award the contracts to Philphos”.
“Furthermore, the records show that Philphos was not the only distributor invited to submit price quotations….The sending out of invitations to other suppliers and distributors negates any showing of partiality”.
In Yap’s counter-affidavit in the current revived case, he pointed out that “the Ombudsman herself issued an order acquitting him of all the charges involving the same issuances albeit in the Visayas region”.
Therefore, it shows that the decision of the Ombudsman is flip-flopping.
The same thing happened in the PDAF issue where Yap was acquitted in two cases.
The PDAF cases involved same circumstances, but different congressmen.
The fertilizer case, on the other hand, involves exactly the same issuance of Yap as then NFA administrator, but he was acquitted in the Visayas and charged in the Luzon one.
Yap also pointed out that “the NFA procurement followed the law and resulted in savings for the government.”
“I have many questions for the Ombudsman. I am shocked with their decision to file the case against me. First, the Visayas portion of the fertilizer procurement by the NFA for the DA, was found to be compliant with the law and above board for which reason the case against me was dismissed. So, if the Visayas portion of the bidding was legal, how can you say that the Luzon portion was illegally done when they were all following one set of instructions only? So, how can the Luzon portion be found in violation of the bidding rules when the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao bidding/procurement only followed one set of general procurement guidelines?” Yap pointed out.
Second, Yap clarified that he“merely issued guidelines to the procurement which was consistent with our laws and yet, all the regional directors who followed my guidelines and conducted the actual bidding were declared innocent”.
“So if they are innocent, does it not follow that there is no case against me?” according to Yap.
The Inquirer quoted Yap saying, “it is very odd that the Ombudsman did not touch on the fact that we saved the Republic millions of pesos as can be determined from the Fertilizers and Pesticides Authority official surveyed prices of fertilizers”.
“Third, how was graft committed when there was bidding? Fourth, how can graft be committed when the bidding saves government money? The price of the fertilizer we bought was lower than the monitored prices of the fertilizers as tracked by the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority. So where is the damage to the Republic? No graft was committed here. If at all, my rights are being violated here when this case- -which is more than twelve years old already- -was forcibly filed by the Ombudsman,” Yap also pointed out.