The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to file additional graft and falsification charges against Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno for allegedly leasing heavy equipment from 2007 to 2012 without public bidding during his term as Misamis Oriental governor.
In 16 separate resolutions, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the filing of 18 counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and one count of falsification of public documents against Moreno.
The case stemmed from a special report of an audit conducted by the COA that found that the rental of equipment for road maintenance “received the biggest share of the non-office projects and that the expenses for rental equipment is the third biggest expenditure under maintenance and other operating expenses.”
The same special report said the disbursements for the equipment rental were “irregular, with transactions amounting to P20.5 million considered as fictitious as suppliers denied participation in the bidding process.”
Also named respondents in the case are former Provincial Accountant Divina Bade, and former Bids and Awards Committee members Cancio Guibone, Elmer Wabe, Patrick Gabutina, Rolando Pacuribot, Danilo Maputol, Elsie Lopoy, and former Administrative Aide Leemar Tinagan.
The Ombudsman said Moreno and his co-accused failed to conduct any public bidding for the multi-million peso lease deals and simply “shopped” for tankers and road rollers for the project, while the excavator was purchased through a negotiated procurement.
However, the Ombudsman said “shopping” may only be used for the procurement of ordinary office supplies and not heavy equipment.
The COA report also found that the procurement for the excavator was “simulated or rigged.”
The Ombudsman had earlier filed six counts of graft against Moreno in connection with the alleged anomalous lease contracts.
Meanwhile, Wabe, Gabutina, Pacuribot, and Lopoy were charged by the Ombudsman of falsification for forging Abstract of Canvass Forms to make it appear other contractors participated in the bidding.
Aside from the criminal indictment, the Ombudsman found Moreno guilty of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and has perpetually barred him from holding public office.