The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), last Tuesday served the dismissal order of the Ombudsman to nine city officials and employees of Bacolod City.

This was confirmed by Atty. Anthony Nuyda, concurrent DILG director for Western Visayas and Negros Island Region after receiving a letter from local government Undersecretary Austere Panadero.

The order states that Atty. Goldwyn Nifras, Engr. Belly Aguillon, Nelson Sedillo, Engr. Aladino Agbones, Engr. Jaries Ebenizer Encabo, Melvin Recabar, Luzviminda Treyes, Eduardo Ravena, and Annabelle Badajos are still subject to temporary restraining order (TRO), awarded by the Court of Appeals, applied only to Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia.

They compose the Bids and Awards Committee when City Hall made the questionable P50-million purchase of furniture and fixtures in 2008.

“Since there was no similar CA (Court of Appeals) Resolution and TRO issued in their favor, the Department shall proceed with implementation of the Ombudsman Joint Resolution,” the letter said.

The dismissal order involved the recent ruling of the Ombudsman which found them and Leonardia guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty in the furniture purchases made between 2008 and 2010, totalling nearly P50 million.

As of press time, the officials are on leave.

Leonardia was able to secure a temporary restraining order from the Court of Appeals in January.

The others sought similar legal remedies, but the Ombudsman and the appellate court have yet to act on them.

The Ombudsman also found probable cause to charge them with violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act “arising from culpable violation of (the Government Procurement Reform Act) and its implementing rules and regulations to the damage and prejudice of the taxpayers and the city government of Bacolod and to the benefit of Comfac Corp., contractor of the furniture and fixtures.”

Aside from dismissal, they will be penalized with forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding office, cancellation of civil service eligibility, and prohibition from taking civil service exams.*(Eugene Y. Adiong)



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