Ex-MWSS execs face charges over hiring of consultants

Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 09 2017 04:03 PM

MANILA - The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) officials allegedly involved in the illegal hiring of consultants.

Twenty-two former and incumbent MWSS officials will also face trial for graft before the Sandiganbayan.

The case stemmed from MWSS’ hiring of 37 consultants in 2010, 2011, 2012. The consultants received a total of P8.293 million in compensation.

The Ombudsman said the MWSS violated the law after employing consultants without an approved Rationalization Plan. 

Their employment also did not go through the required public bidding process as mandated by law, and was instead committed through a negotiated procurement.

"Despite the irregularity and illegality of the consultancy contracts, the above-named respondents: signed the board resolution/s, certified payments to the consultants to be necessary and lawful; certified that the supporting documents are complete and proper; approved the se for payment; and signed the corresponding checks," the Ombudsman said.

"All of their actions, when taken as a whole, contributed to the concerted scheme of giving unwarranted benefits, advantage and preference to consultants who should not have been engaged in the first place."

To be charged before the Sandiganbayan are former MWSS administrators Gerardo Esquivel and Diosdado Jose Allado; senior deputy administrators Nathaniel Santos and Macra Cruz; deputy administrators Zoilo Andin Jr. and Leonor Cleofas; corporate finance services chiefs Virgilio Matel and Jocelyn Toledo and department managers Estrellito Polloso and Darlina Uy.

Also ordered indicted are board members Ramon Alikpala, Oscar Garcia, Ferdinand Mahusay, Aurora Arnaez, Virgilio Angelo, Santiago Gabionza, Jr., Albert Balingit, Raoul Creencia, Ma. Cecilia Soriano, Benjamin Yambao, Emmanuel Caparas, Hermogenes Fernando and Jose Ramon Villarin.

They were also found guilty of grave misconduct and were ordered dismissed form service, except for Allado and Cruz, who already left the MWSS before the complaint was filed in 2014.

The MWSS and its officials have yet to comment on the Ombudsman's decision.