BAGUIO CITY – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the filing of charges against former Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) officials for anomalies in the 2012 lease contract for the agency’s regional office located in CTLL Building, Kisad Road, in Baguio City. Facing charges before the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) are former Chairperson Teresita Manzala, Commissioner Alfredo Po, Regional Director Teofilo Gaius Sison, Jr., Supervising Professional Regulations Officer Tricia Camara and Chief Professional Regulations Officer Sarah Edna Tabije.
Sison and Tabije were also found administratively liable for grave misconduct and were ordered dismissed from the service. They have also been meted the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits.
Ombudsman investigators found that respondents approved the 15-month lease contract and paid over P6.6 million (at a monthly rate of P431,309.80) in rental fees, advance rentals, and deposits from December 2012 to December 2013 without complying with the requirements of the Government Procurement Reform Act.
In its Resolution, the Ombudsman stated that “respondents’ actions indicate their obvious preference for CTLL Building and circumvented the legally-mandated procurement process to ensure its selection as PRC Baguio’s relocation site.”
As proof of the rigged bidding, investigators found that the Bids and Awards Committee “had no copies of any request for expression of interests, request for quotation, performance of warranties and securities, resolution recommending award, notice of award.”
It will be recalled that Po was entrapped by the National Bureau of Investigation in 2012 after he solicited and accepted from Atty. Ernesto De Los Santos P42,000 as monthly commission and P394,000 broker’s commission.
Commissioner Po allegedly solicited said fees as consideration for his intervention in the approval of the lease contract in favor of De Los Santos, owner-lessor of the building that would house the PRC’s satellite office.