The graft and corruption complaint filed against Governor Arthur Yap and several provincial government officials for alleged anomalous transactions may just be an opening salvo of a possible legal onslaught against the administration, said former Tagbilaran City Mayor Dan Lim who lodged the complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Lim last week requested for the Ombudsman to investigate Yap, Provincial Administrator Kathyrin Pioquinto and members of the Capitol’s Bids and Awards Committee for allegedly entering into anomalous deals with a supplier with questionable credentials by purchasing overpriced motorcycles, ambulances, and a communications system.
“Naa pay dako diha…pero kini maoy gusto nako, eye opener ni. Kung sa pagkaon pa ni, appetizer pa ni,” said Lim in an interview over station dyRD on Monday.
Lim said that he initially highlighted the issue on the purchase of the motorcycles as it would easily be grasped by the public as he starts his expose of corruption in the provincial government.
“Gi-una nako ng motorsiklo kay mura man gud ni og ga tan-aw ka’g sine na ang imong actor Fernando Po, Joseph Estrada so pagkita nimo ana mo ingon ka na ‘lami ni’ kay kaila man sila. Pero wa sila kahibaw sa estorya. Mao pud nay ako, na gusto ko ning bahin sa motorsiklo kay masabtan sa common tawo,” he added.
According to Lim, there could be more exposes against Yap including another alleged anomalous purchase which involves rice aid for displaced workers whose livelihood was affected by movement restrictions imposed amid the pandemic.
“Unya na ng [bugas], kay kini akong gi-file mura ni og steak, og maghisgot pa ta og bugas daghan na pud og potahe, mahibos na ning mga Bol-anon mao ng usa-usahon sa nato,” he said.
Yap meanwhile has downplayed Lim’s accusations deeming it a political move and saying that the allegations are “malicious” and “baseless.”
The first-term governor found it unsurprising that Lim was spearheading the filing of complaint considering that the former Tagbilaran City chief executive has long been openly vocal in his criticisms against the administration.
“Dili man pud ta makurat nga si Atty. Dan Lim ang maoy nanguna sa pagsumbong tungod kay sukad pa saona, usa man siya sa atong mga kritiko ug parte sa oposisyon ug kaatbang nga grupo sa politika,” Yap said.
Lim was the defeated congressional candidate of former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. who lost to Yap by a slim margin in the 2019 polls.
According to Lim, it is irrelevant whether the filing of the complaint is politically motivated or not.
“Og mo ingon sila na pamolitika, they are entitled to that. On the other hand, it has nothing to do with the case kay ang iparesolve nato ani, ang proseso,” he said.
Lim meanwhile expressed concern that Yap would pull strings that could help in having the complaint against him junked or resolved in his favor.
“Governor Yap is not an ordinary person—he has the influence, he has the power, he has the resources and he has the experience to deal with any cases, mao ng mangiyupo ta sa kahitas-an, ug sa mga taw ug sa Church na ampo ta na malamdagan g’yud ning mga taw,” Lim added.
In his complaint, Lim said the provincial government entered into a service contract for the Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) 2020, a virtual conference to promote tourism.
He alleged that the provincial government contracted PTM Disco Record Center for the rental of light and sound system for the PHITEX 2020 event held in Panglao, a resort island town in Bohol.
The event’s closing ceremony was held on Sept. 25, 2020, but the notice of award for the procurement was issued only on Dec. 18, 2020, which was three months after the said event had ended.
Lim added that Yap issued a notice of award to Dextel Trading for the purchase of mobile X-ray machines for a total of P22,788,000 or PHP3,798,000 per unit.
“However, upon checking with various suppliers, the cost of the unit of the same specification is only P950,000. In this case, there is overpricing of each unit in the amount of P2,848,000 or a total amount of P17,000,000,” the complaint read.
Lim’s complaint also alleged that on March 18, 2020, the provincial government of Bohol purchased “by way of negotiated sale” eight motorcycles from TWIS Trading in the amount of P718,000.
“It would appear that the purchase price of the motorcycle costs about PHP89,750. Upon verification, a Honda XRM 125 only costs about PHP55,000 for a brand new and PHP18,000 for second hand (units),” Lim’s complaint-affidavit read.
Lim noted an overprice of P34,750 per unit or a total of P278,000 for the entire transaction.
TWIS, which cornered multiple contracts worth more than P100 million, is said to be a single proprietorship holding office in a residential address with no website and no support hotline numbers.
The complaint added that motorcycles bought from TWIS, a company based in Cabuyao, Laguna despite the existence of suppliers in Bohol, which Lim said was “very illogical” as the said transactions entailed additional freight costs on top of the purchase price.
The former mayor said the address given by TWIS was a residential place, its phone is unattended, no office and no help desk support and showroom of its motorcycle business.
The provincial government of Bohol, he said, also awarded the second project to TWIS through the negotiated sale of a communication and security system worth P68,714,500 but such cost is “more than the regular and market prices”.
“Again, by way of negotiated sale, TWIS Trading was awarded the procurement of a Basic Life Support Ambulance in the amount of P20,993,000, one that should be scrutinized because a BASIC life support ambulance would not cost that price,” he said.
Lim urged the anti-graft body to “hold the respondents criminally and administratively (liable) if found guilty.” (A. Doydora with a report from PNA)